The Water Corporation has welcomed its first four-legged employee – and the first dog to be employed by an Australian water utility – who will work as a leak detection specialist.
Kep is a female springer spaniel and her name was chosen by the Western Australian community.
Kep’s first job will be to sniff out any leaks in about 400km of mains in areas around Dalwallinu, Pithara, Wongan Hills, Goomalling and Dowerin.
More than 7000 people voted on Facebook to name the dog, with Kep being the Noongar word for water.
Ten-month-old Kep arrived from Sydney after undergoing intensive training with one of Australia’s leading dog trainers, Steve Austin.
She has been trained to recognise the scent of scheme water, and ignore all other scents such as rain water, pipes and fittings.
Her reward for finding the target scent is to chase a tennis ball.
The springer spaniel’s employment follows a successful trial of leak detection dogs in regional areas by the Water Corporation in 2017.
The trial was conducted to find an alternative to traditional leak detection technologies in regional areas, which are often not cost effective.
WA Minister for Water, Dave Kelly, said “The Water Corporation manages more than 34,000km of water mains across 2.6 million square kilometres in WA – making it the largest water utility in the world in terms of the geographical area serviced.
“This is why they are always looking for new and innovative ways to detect leaks and save water. It’s great to see the Water Corporation thinking outside the box and investing in research and development.”