Three German Shepherd dogs are currently being trained and used to detect water leaks in the town of Teyrau in the Hérault department.
Dogs use their keen sense of smell to discover any underground problem while they are still on the surface and alert their handler if they find anything. This will make it possible to detect leaks earlier and more easily.
François Bourdeau, master of one of the dogs, Nina, told France 3: “Now, we can show people this work, and tell them: ‘This is where you have a leak’. “
The lawsuit came after network manager Veolia, which is working in partnership with the army on the project, had an idea.
David Maisonneuve, Veolia network expert, declared: “It started because we know that we have chlorine in our networks, and when there is a leak, the chlorine comes out of the pipes. So we wondered if there was a technology capable of detecting it and the idea of dogs came up.
“We know dogs work in many different areas, including missing persons and explosives, so why not water leaks? “
Nina was originally trained to assist in the search for missing persons.
Mr. Bourdeau explains: “She is a working bitch, so she loves to ‘work’. But we make it a game for them, so when they go out with us, for them, it’s like they go out to play.
If the trial is deemed successful, the research could be rolled out nationwide over the next few years.
Network expert Nicolas Caseneuve declared: “Across the region, we have 9,600 km of network. Sometimes we have to work on pipes that are in really hard to reach places using normal methods.
The new method could be good news for regions of France which relatively often experience severe leaks. For example, the city of Nîmes loses about half of its water in the countryside, or the equivalent of seven million m3 per year.
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