For 77 years, water tracing has been the most important part of one man’s life.
Perry Rhine lives in Alix and he is a full-time water tracer.
“I call it water tracing, some call it water witching but I don’t call it that,” he said.
Since he was 10 years old Rhine has been able to find water veins running under the ground. He started out using a forked branch but has used many different tools over the years.
Rhine’s father traded a team of horses for having a well dug. The man who dug the well brought in a water tracer to tell him where to dig. It was at that moment Rhine found his calling in life.
He says he can tell how many gallons per minute run through the vein and how deep the vein is.
“It’s the most interesting thing I’ve done in my life, and the most important,” Rhine said. “I know more about the water than anyone in North America.”
Since he started Rhine has spent more than $40,000 of his own money tracing water.
Once he finds an author, Rhine wants to publish a book about the water he’s found. “I know the location of millions of gallons of water.”
Since the Ponoka Stampede Rhine has been to Saskatchewan to find water for three different people. Soon he’ll go back on a new job. “I went clean across Saskatchewan.”
Four or five years ago Rhine discovered what he believes to be a large vein running under the Ponoka Stampede Grounds with several smaller veins running adjacent to it. He calculated the vein runs at 430 gallons per minute and is 105 feet underground.
Rhine says he talked to the Stampede senator Shorty Jones about the vein.
“They never called me to go show it to them. I don’t know why they never called me,” Rhine said.
Jones has no recollection of meeting Rhine.
Since Rhine is more than 80 years old he’s been looking for a protégé. However, he says not anybody can just find water. Many people are just finding iron in the ground. Rhine claims it has the same effect on his instruments.
“It’s something in my body.”