If you're a water company, it's probably a good idea to keep detailed maps of where all your pipes are. Just for the sake of efficiency, because not knowing where they are is a bit of a problem if they need work doing to them. The problem is that they apparently don't, and instead rely on magic to determine their location.
Ok it's not actually magic, but it might as well be. It's water dowsing, which basically means wandering around with two metal rods and waiting for them to move around by themselves. That means there's water under the ground! Except it doesn't, because it's nonsense and made up. Like magic, homeopathy, astrology, or Piers Morgan's humility.
And yet, 10 of the 12 UK water companies have admitted to using dowsing (also known as divining) to find water pipes. Over on Medium Sally Le Page heard that her parents had seen workers from Severn Trent using diving rods in action, so decided to go and ask what was up. They didn't even try to deny that it happened at least some of the time.
We've found that some of the older methods are just as effective than the new ones, but we do use drones as well, and now satellites. You can find more information here: https://t.co/zQKlQGl6no
— Severn Trent (@stwater) November 20, 2017
Nine other also admitted it, including Yorkshire Water, Anglican Water, Dŵr Cymru, Northumbrian Water, Scottish Water, South West Water, Southern Water, Thames Water, and United Utilities. Northern Ireland Water denied that they ever used divining rods, at least not any more since "modern equipment is far more effective". Wessex Water also denied using divining rods.
It's worth reading the whole piece over on Medium, since Le Page also details some of the science behind why water dowsing is utter bullshit and why people seem to think the rods move by themselves (the same reason Ouija boards seemingly move autonomously).
But it's sad to hear that in 2017 major companies with stockholders and lots of money still resort to ancient pseudoscience to do their jobs. I don't even know where to begin. But then again I also saw a story about how pets are suffering and dying because owners are treating them with homeopathic remedies.
Just... Urgh. [Medium]