Why do these dogs have wet noses? Because they sniff out leaks for Water Corp

Cocker spaniel Emma in her work wear jacket for the Water Corporation.
Springer spaniel Tommy with Water Corporation chief executive Sue Murphy.
Cocker spaniel Emma in her work wear jacket for the Water Corporation. Springer spaniel Tommy with Water Corporation chief executive Sue Murphy.

SWEET-natured spaniels are putting their hunting skills to the test in a trial to sniff out leaks in belowground water mains.

The Water Corporation enlisted Emma and Tommy to investigate whether the dogs were able to smell hidden leaks in unreachable areas or where other detection methods were unsuitable.

Leading Australian dog trainer Steve Austin is conducting the trials using the specially trained sniffer dogs for use in regional areas including Northam.

He works with agencies across Australia to train working dogs to detect smells for feral animal control and illicit drug detection.

Water Minister Dave Kelly said the trial was an Australian-first.

“With nearly 34,000km of water mains across our vast state, it’s important we continue to explore new and innovative methods of detecting hidden leaks,” he said.

Pipes buried underground present more challenges to detect water leaks.

“These field trials will not only test the dogs’ ability to sniff out hidden leaks, but they will see how close they need to be to the leak for it to be detected and how many kilometres a day they can travel,” he said.

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