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Old 21st November 2017, 06:45 PM   #1
Giz
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UK Utilities using magic instead of engineering/Water dowsing

"Ten out of 12 major water suppliers in the UK admitted to using “dowsing” or “divining rods” to detect underground water, a method which has been widely discredited by modern science. The rods were once believed to twitch in the hands of a “diviner” to point to underground reserves, a method which is believed to date back to the 15th century.

The practice is used by engineers working for most of the largest water companies, including Severn Trent, United Utilities and Thames Water."


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/...er-find-leaks/

Wow.
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Old 21st November 2017, 06:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Giz View Post
"Ten out of 12 major water suppliers in the UK admitted to using “dowsing” or “divining rods” to detect underground water, a method which has been widely discredited by modern science. The rods were once believed to twitch in the hands of a “diviner” to point to underground reserves, a method which is believed to date back to the 15th century.

The practice is used by engineers working for most of the largest water companies, including Severn Trent, United Utilities and Thames Water."


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/...er-find-leaks/

Wow.
Wow
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Old 21st November 2017, 06:58 PM   #3
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Dowsing! Muggles are just so cute to think that something like that would work. Even a first year can do an aquada kedevra spell
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Old 21st November 2017, 07:00 PM   #4
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Breaking the shackles of Big Water Well Drilling!
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Old 21st November 2017, 07:18 PM   #5
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Not just the UK.
In the US, dowsing for utility locates around construction sites happens quite often. A guy in a hard hat and utility company logo orange safety vest hops out of a truck and starts waving bent welding rods around and spray painting lines on the sidewalk.

I have seen or heard stories of power, water, electric, sewer, gas, communications, even fuel lines in a bulk tank farm dowsed, marked, and signed off.
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Old 21st November 2017, 07:33 PM   #6
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I had a utility guy come on my property and dowse for an underground water leak. He could not have been more wrong.
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Old 21st November 2017, 07:52 PM   #7
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How could or would they continue this practice if they are consistently wrong or no better than chance?
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Old 21st November 2017, 07:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
How could or would they continue this practice if they are consistently wrong or no better than chance?
They came out to find a leak. One of the guys on the truck tried to dowse it. They actually found the leak by digging, and it was nowhere near where the dowser predicted.
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Old 21st November 2017, 07:58 PM   #9
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Did they start where the dowser indicated?
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Old 21st November 2017, 08:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
How could or would they continue this practice if they are consistently wrong or no better than chance?
Symbolism. The Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy. Correlation vs. Causation. Confirmation bias.

Basically all the ways people can be stupid.
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Old 21st November 2017, 08:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Did they start where the dowser indicated?
No. They drew a line from the water cut-off at the street to the house, and started at the house end of that line. There it was. The downer had picked a spot on the other side of the house.
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Old 21st November 2017, 09:21 PM   #12
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Any idea why they ignored the dowser?
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Old 21st November 2017, 09:24 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
Dowsing! Muggles are just so cute to think that something like that would work. Even a first year can do an aquada kedevra spell
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Old 21st November 2017, 10:10 PM   #14
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Wonder if they repair the leaks through telekinesis?
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Old 21st November 2017, 10:20 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Any idea why they ignored the dowser?
The guy wasn't dowsing in any official capacity. He voluntarily dowsed the site. If they had stated digging based on his dowsing, I would have called the local newspaper.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 01:19 AM   #16
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Did they use Uri Geller's Crystal Pendulum Dowsin Kit? (since 2006 - and not one single recommendation!)
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Old 22nd November 2017, 02:02 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by fishbob View Post
Not just the UK.
In the US, dowsing for utility locates around construction sites happens quite often. A guy in a hard hat and utility company logo orange safety vest hops out of a truck and starts waving bent welding rods around and spray painting lines on the sidewalk.

I have seen or heard stories of power, water, electric, sewer, gas, communications, even fuel lines in a bulk tank farm dowsed, marked, and signed off.

I have used utility locating services countless times, calling them in for various stages of various construction sites. I have never once witnessed them using dousing rods of any sort. Although they have been wrong on occasion, even with their high tech equipment.

The one dousing incident I did see was rather different.

We were digging a deep (20 ft.) building excavation which required a soil nail wall as a temporary retaining wall. For those unfamiliar with the process, this involves digging down in stages, about six feet deep at a time. At each stage long holes about 3" dia. (ranging from 10 to 25 feet or so) are drilled horizontally into the exposed cut, then a length of heavy rebar is inserted into the hole and grouted into place. Finally a skin of heavy welded wire fabric is placed to cover the face of the cut, which is then sprayed with a layer of concrete several inches thick, and large metal plates are slid onto the rebar and held in place with bolts to secure the wire reinforced concrete skin.

At the start of any such installation it is necessary to ensure that the drilling does not damage any immediately adjacent utilities. On one job we knew that there was a 12" water main somewhere close to the reach of the longest rebar pins scheduled for that section of the SN wall.

The utility contractor we were using on that site had installed that water main a couple of years earlier, so we asked them to have it located for us so that we could be sure to miss it.

The foreman who had installed that pipe told us that would be no problem ... and this is when the welding rods came out.

We confirmed that the marks he had painted were not going to be within reach of any of our soil nails.

We managed to drill four holes. The fifth started gushing water, and shut down the water service to several of the university's adjacent multi-story lab buildings. The pipe in question was, it seems, about 8 ft. closer to the excavation than where he had located it.

Matters degenerated quickly from that point.

The water main in question had been turned over to the county water service well before these events.

They wanted to see the documentation for the locating services who had been notified. Only long years of mutual business contact between the county and our utility contractor avoided significant legal action. The contractor bore all the expenses incurred by the incident, which were considerable, and that is beyond the cost of repairing the water line.

The county also made them hire an independent locating service which provided actual physical location in three dimensions of all the remaining utilities, including the rest of the water lines (There were others on other sides of the building footprint), gas, electric, sewer, storm, etc., which were shown on the site utility drawings to be within 15 ft. of the longest possible soil nail. This was a non-trivial form of locating which involves using a high pressure air drill that can drill down to the pipe without damaging it. It is very expensive, and very time consuming ... and was what they had been trying to avoid in the first place.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 02:48 AM   #18
P.J. Denyer
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
Any idea why they ignored the dowser?
Presumably because they knew

1) Where the water cut off was
2) Where the House was
3) What a straight line was
4) What a clueless idiot was
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Old 22nd November 2017, 06:20 AM   #19
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Water dowsing

Not sure if this is the right place for it (mods please move if needed) or not.
Ten out of twelve water companies in the UK (when I looked) are using divining rods to find leaks, more here.

FFS
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Old 22nd November 2017, 06:51 AM   #20
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Another thread about this is here:
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...splay.php?f=82
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Old 22nd November 2017, 06:58 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by MetalPig View Post
Another thread about this is here:
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...splay.php?f=82
Thanks for letting me know!

Mods - feel free to merge / delete / whatever this thread

Thanks
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Old 22nd November 2017, 07:23 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by MetalPig View Post
Another thread about this is here:
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...splay.php?f=82
That link leads to the "Social Issues" forum, an no obvious story about water dowsing.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 07:24 AM   #23
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Here is the other thread.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 07:25 AM   #24
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http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=324993
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Old 22nd November 2017, 07:48 AM   #25
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Thanks!
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Old 22nd November 2017, 10:22 AM   #26
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It appears to not be the policy or protocol for these companies...

Originally Posted by BBC News
In a statement issued later, Severn Trent said: "We don't issue divining rods but we believe some of our engineers use them."

All the companies emphasised they do not encourage the use of divining rods nor issue them to engineers, and said modern methods such as drones and listening devices were preferred.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-42070719
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Old 22nd November 2017, 10:29 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
It appears to not be the policy or protocol for these companies...




http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-42070719
That was the situation in my case also. The engineers took it upon themselves to bring divining rods.
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Old 22nd November 2017, 02:49 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
It appears to not be the policy or protocol for these companies...




http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-42070719

Because "We don't encourage our workers to try and fix infrastructure problems with magic, we just let them" is so much better.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 02:08 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by fishbob View Post
Not just the UK.
In the US, dowsing for utility locates around construction sites happens quite often. A guy in a hard hat and utility company logo orange safety vest hops out of a truck and starts waving bent welding rods around and spray painting lines on the sidewalk.

I have seen or heard stories of power, water, electric, sewer, gas, communications, even fuel lines in a bulk tank farm dowsed, marked, and signed off.
I've seen a guy dowse for an underground power cable and he was right on the money. Don't know what that means in the big picture, but I'm inclined to think that there may be something to it and don't reject it out of hand.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 02:30 AM   #30
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VAasVXtCOI

Footage of a double blind trial of dowsing with interviews (from Enemies of Reason).
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Old 23rd November 2017, 02:39 AM   #31
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If he was dead and had been buried in a casket that had sufficient room, and he could be aware after death, and be able to manipulate the physical world Randi would be spinning in his grave!

Dowsing has been conclusively tested, it simply doesn't work.

What is very concerning is how it keeps cropping up in places where you think they'd be safe from this bunk.

This type of crap doesn't just cost people money it actually kills people. Because it keeps cropping up murderers like McCormick are able to make money by scamming people.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 02:55 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by jakesteele View Post
I've seen a guy dowse for an underground power cable and he was right on the money. Don't know what that means in the big picture, but I'm inclined to think that there may be something to it and don't reject it out of hand.
Yet it fails every test.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 02:58 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by P.J. Denyer View Post
Because "We don't encourage our workers to try and fix infrastructure problems with magic, we just let them" is so much better.
This.

If I started casting runes in order to try and figure out why there was a bug in some code I would expect to get sacked.

Originally Posted by jakesteele View Post
I've seen a guy dowse for an underground power cable and he was right on the money. Don't know what that means in the big picture, but I'm inclined to think that there may be something to it and don't reject it out of hand.
Ooh, look.
Anecdote!
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Old 23rd November 2017, 03:22 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Tolls View Post
This.

If I started casting runes in order to try and figure out why there was a bug in some code I would expect to get sacked.



Ooh, look.
Anecdote!
Oh I don't know I remember delving into someone elses' code to debug years after they'd left the company and it probably would have been as effective as anything else!
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Old 23rd November 2017, 04:14 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
How could or would they continue this practice if they are consistently wrong or no better than chance?
Confirmation bias could well be the whole explanation of perceived accuracy rates higher than chance, but I think it's possible some of them may essentially be letting their unconscious mind make its best guess, based on past experience and all the data entering their senses (which will be much more than is being brought to the attention of their conscious awareness). That might give a hit rate which is genuinely better than chance.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 05:25 AM   #36
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That and there are many places where (when drilling wells) it would be an achievement to miss water rather than hit it but that doesn't mean you can't claim that was the spot.

And, as the video I linked to above shows, if it's a miss there's always a 'reason' (but the reason is never "it doesn't work").
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Old 23rd November 2017, 06:29 AM   #37
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Shouted at the radio this morning. John Humphrys had a scientist in who was far too polite about it all, especially when Humphrys told his own anecdote - basically he had to find a source of water on his own farm as a well had run dry and a diviner found one which they then ran a pipe from. Scientist talks about coincidence and no known mechanism, ideomotor, unconscious clues etc.

Humphrys then ups the ante (yeah there's always more impressive detail to add) and states that sometime later they had a leak in that water supply and a diviner successfully located it. He went on and on about it being a 4 acre field so no way it was chance and all the scientist came back with was that divining failed controlled tests.

I was screaming at the radio that it wasn't a spot in a 4 acre field, it was a spot along a straight line, as they all knew where the source was (having 'miraculously' found and dug it out some time earlier) and the output and had laid the sodding pipe between them in the first place. Not only that but if it was a significant enough leak to have been noticed in the first place, there were probably visual cues!

Aaaarghh, come on Radio 4, you're supposed to be better than this!
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Old 23rd November 2017, 11:57 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Ethan Thane Athen View Post
Shouted at the radio this morning. John Humphrys had a scientist in who was far too polite about it all, especially when Humphrys told his own anecdote - basically he had to find a source of water on his own farm as a well had run dry and a diviner found one which they then ran a pipe from. Scientist talks about coincidence and no known mechanism, ideomotor, unconscious clues etc.

Humphrys then ups the ante (yeah there's always more impressive detail to add) and states that sometime later they had a leak in that water supply and a diviner successfully located it. He went on and on about it being a 4 acre field so no way it was chance and all the scientist came back with was that divining failed controlled tests.

I was screaming at the radio that it wasn't a spot in a 4 acre field, it was a spot along a straight line, as they all knew where the source was (having 'miraculously' found and dug it out some time earlier) and the output and had laid the sodding pipe between them in the first place. Not only that but if it was a significant enough leak to have been noticed in the first place, there were probably visual cues!

Aaaarghh, come on Radio 4, you're supposed to be better than this!
I sometimes download the Today program to listen to while walking the dog. I won't this evening, one gets funny looks walking the darkened streets yelling abuse at no-one.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 12:10 PM   #39
Ranb
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When the water pressure reducer on the edge of my lot failed, the utility came out and told me I had to dig up the line between the reducer and the house. One of the men produced a divining rod which looked like a telescoping antenna with a hand grip then proceeded to wave it around and mark the location of the water line. I couldn't help but notice that he marked a direct path between the electric meter and the junction box and told him so. He then gave me the number for the utility people who would properly mark the water and power lines buried in my yard; which they did the next day.

I wrote to the utility and asked them if they allowed their employees to haphazardly mark out the locations of water services using such foolhardy methods. I told them I could have been killed had I dug where their man told me the water line was. They wrote back saying it was not their policy to use a dowsing rod. No ***** !

Last edited by Ranb; 23rd November 2017 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 23rd November 2017, 08:40 PM   #40
Rougarou
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Because of this thread, yesterday I asked one of my customers who is in the business of installing underground gasoline tanks and dispensers here in the U.S.A. if he ever saw anyone dowsing when they had to check for water mains, utility lines, etc. At first he said he did see it from time to time, and seemed to know what I was referring to. But after I expressed surprise and called the practice B.S., he claimed to misunderstand what I was talking about and said metal detectors and such were always used. Hmmm.

Last edited by Rougarou; 23rd November 2017 at 08:42 PM.
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