Australia’s first leak detection dog, Kep has marked her birthday with a special lunch at Parliament House hosted by Water Minister Dave Kelly.
Despite being just four years old, Kep is already a water-saving sensation. In 2019-20, her keen sense of smell discovered 36 hidden leaks across regional Western Australia, helping Water Corporation save around 197 million litres of precious water.
Since joining Water Corporation in 2018, Kep and her handler Andrew Blair have surveyed 903 kilometres of water mains, discovering 92 hidden leaks and saving an estimated 880 million litres of water – equivalent to around 352 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Kep, an English springer spaniel whose name is the Noongar word for water, was trained from birth to sniff out underground leaks which can be buried more than a metre deep.
She works in rural and remote areas where there are long stretches of buried pipelines and where regular acoustic leak detection methods are less effective or cost prohibitive.
Kep is part of Water Corporation’s non-visible leak detection program which last year inspected more than 3,700km of water mains State-wide, saving a potential 2.7 billion litres of water.
Water Corporation’s leak detection program is an important, proactive step taken to save our precious water supplies as we face the impacts of climate change and declining rainfall.
In 2020-21, the WA Government, through Water Corporation, will invest around $76 million in water mains renewals across the State, of which $25 million will be spent in regional WA.
As stated by Water Minister Dave Kelly:
“Leaks are a reality faced by water utilities around the world.
“For Water Corporation, the challenge is all the more important given there are nearly 35,000km of water mains in Western Australia – enough to stretch across the country eight and a half times.
“It’s incredible that Kep can sniff out a water leak buried deep underground and help save our precious water supplies
“On behalf of the State Government, I’d like to acknowledge Kep’s great work and wish her a very happy birthday.
“I look forward to many more years of her being Water Corporation’s most loved employee.”