The latest weapon in the battle to stop the water leaks has been unveiled by South West Water and it’s something that won’t ‘paws’ for thought.

Highly trained sniffer dogs are being used in rural areas by the company as it seeks to reduce water leakage amid the ongoing hosepipe ban and reservoir supply issues.

Two highly-trained springer spaniels, eight-year-old Denzel and three-year-old Kilo, have been trialled by South West Water in partnership with Cape SPC dog trainers and Morrison Water Services since last month, covering 44 kilometres of rural land that would otherwise be hard to navigate. In that time, the dogs found seven leaks.

The dogs are trained to detect small traces of chlorine in treated drinking water and South West Water says that they are able to cover rural land a lot more efficiently than traditional methods allowing for a ‘more targeted deployment of resources’.

Once the dogs have located a potential leak, it is investigated by South West Water’s leakage team in order for a repair to be made.

Ali Milton, South West Water’s Leakage Delivery Manager at South West Water, said: “We’re fixing more leaks, more quickly than ever before, working around the clock to conserve our water resources and fixing up to 2,500 leaks a month. We continue to invest in innovative technology to help locate hard-to-spot leaks such as utilising satellites to find invisible water leaks underground and drone pilots to cover hard to reach places across Dartmoor and Exmoor.

“Using Denzel and Kilo with the Cape SPC team to cover large areas of hard to access rural land quicker than any human would be able to adds another string to our bow when it comes to tackling leakage.

Luke Jones, Cape SPC Director, said: “Denzel and Kilo are trained to detect small traces of chlorine in treated drinking water.

“They are not only able to cover large areas of tough terrain more efficiently, but they can also smell what can’t be seen, and have the ability to differentiate between naturally occurring water and water from leaks.

“This makes them even more valuable when the weather is wet and conditions are more difficult for people.

South West Water customers have been playing their part in helping to reduce leakage by reporting nearly 50% more leaks than ever before. With around 30% of leaks now typically found on customers’ own properties, the company has extended its offer to fix these leaks for free.