Slimbridge Dowsing group


Dowsing to locate a leak in a water pipe

A local farmer in need of dowsing help is an irresistible plea to us dowsers. Rob Jewell of St Augustine's Farm at Arlingham had just received his latest water bill and it was massive compared to last year’s. This suggested he had a leak from his water pipes, which is at best annoying and at worst, expensive.

St Augustine's has been in Rob’s family for some 200 years. It is a delightful place, open to visitors and schools so that children can visit real countryside and see live calves, pigs and piglets, pygmy goats, chickens and miniature Shetland ponies. However, they all have to be fed and watered, and Rob’s new water bill was eye-watering to say the least.

Slimbridge Dowsing Group to the rescue! We mustered the troops and seven of us descended on Rob’s farm, rods at the ready. Once we had established where the meter was, and that the reading was showing excessive flow in the pipe leading to the fields, we followed the route indicated by our dowsing rods across the meadows, over ditches, through stinging nettles (good for butterflies), into the pig pen (the natives were friendly), and beyond.

We asked for the flow of water per minute at various places along the length of the pipes. Initially we were getting 1.8 gallons per minute, but further along the pipeline this dropped to 1.3 and at one point it was down to 0.8, which more or less confirmed our suspicions of a leak - but where?

Slimbridge dowsers in a farmers field Dowsing in the rain for a leak at St Augustine's farm, Arlingham. Photo by Keith Jones

This week’s rain ruled out looking for a damp patch. Nearby ditches would have absorbed any overflow anyway. But gradually we worked our way along the pipe and eventually we believe we found what we were looking for.

“Please show me where there is a leak?” one lady asked of her dowsing rods; then another, followed by a third gentleman, which seemed pretty conclusive to us. We asked whether the leak was at a join in the pipework – No. How much was being lost through the leak? About 0.5 gallons per minute, which is a regular drip, drip, drip, and mounts up rapidly.

We plan to return with a spade as soon as possible and do some digging. It will be rewarding to get a result and prove whether we were right or wrong.

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