HE CAN locate water simply by using wires and sticks, but don’t call him a diviner.
Erick van Ingen, who found fame on a television program in 2002, was in the area last week putting the mystical art of what he likes to call “water hunting”, to good use.
Mr van Ingen lives in north-eastern Victoria, but visited a number of farms around the district including some at Hillston and Rankins Springs.
Mr van Ingen said local farmers used his services to find groundwater on their properties.
He used his sticks to determine the location of streams, the volume of water flow, water depth and salinity.
“I travel all over Australia,” he said.
“I usually look for pools of water fed by a number of streams. My success rate on irrigation is 100 per cent, on stock and domestic I have a 95 per cent success rate.
“I don’t like to call myself a diviner. I prefer water hunter. I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in Australia who does what I do. I do teach people once a year and I only teach seven at a time and it usually takes a fortnight.
“I’ve got a number of different rods I use. About eight months ago I finished working on a rod that allows me to determine water quality.”
Mr van Ingen’s “big breakthrough” came after appearing on Today Tonight in 2002, where he won a sceptic’s water divining
contest with 100 per cent accuracy.
“They asked me if I could come and be part of the show. There were around six of us and they used bottles with water, some empty ones and some with saw dust that were
hidden and I got every one right,” he said.
French-born Mr van Ingen said he began water divining when he was eight years old after being inspired by an episode of the television series Bonanza.
“I remember watching this man with a stick and it went up and down. My brother and I went outside and tried it with our own sticks and an old man told us we were doing it wrong so he showed us how,” he said.
Mr van Ingen’s skills have taken him right across the country and while he has now moved on he does plan to return to this area later in the year.
Mr van Ingen paid a visit to Rankins Springs farmers Julie and Peter Groat last week.
Mrs Groat said they were happy with the four hours he spent searching their property.
“We just got hold of him by chance because someone told us he was in the area,” she said.
“We’ve got a spring behind our house but it’s too salty so we can’t use it.
“We have a fairly big garden and we always have trouble in summer. Some people are sceptical but he was so thorough and he could tell us how much water and how far down it was. I even had a go with the stick and it turned for me. It’s good to know that he has found useable water, but it is costly to bore so we will have to look into it.”