Drinking Water

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 11:42
ThreadID: 117457 Views:3778 Replies:14 FollowUps:28
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Where and how do we access drinking water refills in the outback?
We've done a few outback trips before but have managed to always be "not too far" from towns so we could buy drinks etc. We've done 8000km treks around western Qld and have always managed to come home with some of our own water left, thanks to buying drinks as we've gone along, a few casks, a few cans of soft drink, refilling at the caravan park, buying a bottle of water at the servo...
In June we are heading west to Boulia, across the Plenty Highway, across the Tanami Road, around the Gibb River Road and then back to the east coast via the black top (I'll probably be "over" the corrugations by then!!)
Therefore, there'll be days of remote driving and remote camps, having to use our own supplies and this time we know we will need to refill. We know that outback places have enough troubles sourcing enough water for themselves.
We have a little homemade camper and will be carrying water in "water jerry cans", decanting into smaller bottles as we go.
I've searched the net and am not finding the info I need... can anyone please tell me where you have accessed water refills along the Plenty, or Tanami or Gibb River Road? Was it at a tap in town? Was it at a tap at the servo? Was it in water bottles sold at the general store? Was it at the caravan park?
Or will it become the treasure-hunt/focus of every stop?!

Many thanks!

Robyn :)

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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 12:28

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 12:28
If you're heading through Winton, Robyn, you can buy 10L containers of water at the supermarkets. Probably get the same at Spilsbury's supermarket in Boulia, or at the roadhouse there. Both Winton & Boulia are on bore water, so not always to most people's taste.Winton water is okay once it's cold.

When we went across the Plenty, had plenty(sorry, lol) to get us to Yulara, so didn't try to get any at Tobermorey, Jervious or Gem Tree. They are just as likely to be on bore water anyway.

I'd be stocking up again in the Alice, at either s'market, or 'van park. One of those Best Filters might be the go, then almost any water can be made "safe".

Never been across the Gibb, but spent time around Kununurra, and a lot of that creek water there is "soda water". Quite okay to drink, but has a definite soda flavour, which is an acquired taste. Once again, would be quite alright once it's filtered.

Perhaps you might have to keep your supply of casks well stocked?

Enjoy the trip, sounds great.
Bob

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Robyn R4 - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:21

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:21
Thanks Bob-we've been through Winton a few times now but haven't tasted anything but the servo's 1 litre bottle of water (oh! those darn unenvironmental bottles!) and the Gregory's booze!
I thought I'd better pack a bottle of cordial to add a dimension to the bore taste...!
"Soda"...that's a description that will make sense when I drink it, I'm sure!! I'll taste it and look knowingly at the hubby like a real connoisseur..."Hmm...that's what Bob meant!"
:)
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Reply By: Sigmund - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 14:22

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 14:22
When you pay for your petrol or your CP site ask if you can fill a jerry or two. If you're fussy about taste then just use a filter/jug combo from the supermarket.

Some places like Coober Pedy have a public pay tap.
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Reply By: Crusier 91 - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 14:50

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 14:50
Can't help with where water is supplied in remote places.

We carry 100 litre water bladder across the rear floor of the truck, 40 litre water bladder in the rear of the truck, 80 litres in the jayco and a 10 litre cask from the shop. This last us for quite some time. We carry a hose and tap fittings to re-fill at servo's or van parks when needed.

Bladders are cheap, approx $120 delivered off FleeBay. It's peace of mind for us.
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Follow Up By: Crusier 91 - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 14:53

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 14:53
Hell, I've even traded water for alcohol, litre for litre for in remote area's.
It's a very nice commodity to have in the outback :)
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Reply By: bill m - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 15:47

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 15:47
One of the best little tools you can carry is a 4way tap spanner. It comes in the form of a cross and has 4 different valve profiles which fit all of the hidden tap heads. So if there is a tap anywhere in town, especially in the local park, you can bet that the council has fitted recessed tap heads to stop people from accessing the water, or maybe just to ensure that people don't leave the tap on when they are finished and waste the water. They are only about $12 and can be purchased from any Bunnings.
Cheers, BillM
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Follow Up By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 16:06

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 16:06
I had never thought of that. Thanks Bill, most useful.
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Follow Up By: TomH - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 16:57

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 16:57
Perhaps the reason they put those on the taps is to stop people stealing the water which is effectively what you are doing.

Someone can still leave it running regardless as they arent auto shutoff.
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Follow Up By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:07

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:07
I think the issue is leaving taps running and I will trust myself to do the correct thing.
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Follow Up By: Member - johnat - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:13

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:13
But, as mentioned, the use of the tap is theft. And that is NOT doing the right thing! The issue is the scarcity of the resource, and the cost to the local community to provide it. If you ask at the servo, you might be asked to pay for some water - and you should! If you help yourself by use of one of the 4-way tap handles, you're simply a common thief!
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Follow Up By: Member - Niss42 - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:13

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:13
A lot of those town park security taps are used as it may be recycled water, so beware !!!
Barry.
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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:18

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:18
Bwahahaha......great idea, STEAL the water.........LOL
Maybe if you get the Mrs to chat up the bloke on the checkout and get your kids to knock off the bottled water out of the fridges at sevos too? RATFLMAO.......
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Follow Up By: TomH - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:21

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:21
The reason they put those taps in is to stop what you propose.

ANY tap can be left running except those that arent turned on.

Respect the fact and ask for what you want.

Far too many think they have an entitlement to help themselves to whatever they want.

If you cant afford to pay your way stay home.
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Follow Up By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:23

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:23
C'mon, let's not get carried away. Of course I am not in favour of or advocating theft. It is usually pretty obvious when tap handles are not provided because water is scarce or when it is done to prevent taps being left on. As in all things, use your head.
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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:23

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:23
Another handy gadget is a jiggler syphon..........most people only lock their fuel caps to stop sniffers.............I don't reckon they would mind at all if ya helped yourself to that either....Bwahahahahaha

Sorry couldn't help myself.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:13

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:13
I was taught that if the tap is not there - there a reason. Leave it alone!

We take 55 litres in a tank under the car and 20 or 40 litres in a jerry can in the back of the car. We have never run out and some trips have taken two weeks to get back to civilisation. And with three in the car in places like the WA deserts, Simpson and the CSR. It sure is nice to have a shower when we get back to civilisation.
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Follow Up By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 23:23

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 23:23
Ref my last reply to Hairy. On further thought I think you are correct.
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 08:04

Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 08:04
True. I did read that. The problem with forums is that you can't always get an idea who agrees and who doesn't when you can't actually see the body language of those standing around (and not posting). So I added another one. Not meaning to be a negative criticism. Okay??

I also added how much water we carried for three occupants for our CSR drive and how it was carried. PS No wine, coke or beer. Added a lovely very old bottle of port for a sip after dinner. I thought that may help also.

So enjoy the trips and maybe get used to carrying more fluid supplies instead of using the shops etc on the way.
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Reply By: Member-Heather MG NSW - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:16

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:16
When we aren't sure where we can get drinking water, I either phone or email the towns or stations well in advance, and ask whether any is available then offer to buy it. Try the Station contact number, Roadhouse or General store or PO/Community Centre, Council Office... even local area Police Station. There is often a tap on the Tourist Information centre which is available to travelers. Sometimes there is a charge or a donation.
Usually we have found people to be very helpful if they know that you don't expect it all for free!

In some of the most remote and dry places we have had a storm which delivers rain and have collected enough to fill both water tanks as well as extra 20 litre containers, from the awning run off! (Its also delayed our travel for a few days!). However you can't expect to be this lucky and obviously don't have a caravan awning!

It is water which usually limits our stay and we are always aware of how much we are carrying, when we are dependent on it.
Your trip sounds wonderful by the way. Hope you have a great time. We look forward to hearing about it.

regards,

Heather



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Reply By: desray (WA - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:24

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:24
Robyn, there is a tap and showers at Winjana gorge camp site on the Gibb river road. Bell gorge camp sit also has water and showers. Dont miss Galvans gorge, good for a swim no crocs , not well known you could have the place to yourself.
AnswerID: 552341

Follow Up By: Robyn R4 - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:15

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:15
I saw Galvans on a map but hadn't found any info...thanks for your heads-up!!

:)
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Follow Up By: desray (WA - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 21:44

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 21:44
Galvans Gorge at 17^09'01.61"s 125^28'10.56E. Google earth has it marked in the wrong place. Car park is just off the road and is a ten minute walk to the water hole pictured on Google earth.
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Follow Up By: desray (WA - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 21:57

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 21:57
delete previous ,,sorry I got it wrong. Marked at the right spot on explore oz maps,, 16*47'54.18s 125*50'54.12"E
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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:27

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:27
Gday.

Its all about planning............you now how much water you need and how fussy you are. Phone ahead and ask BEFORE you leave.

Cheers
AnswerID: 552342

Follow Up By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:58

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:58
And I'd agree that that is the best course.
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Follow Up By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 23:20

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 23:20
In thinking about it more, I think Hairy you are right. I don't of course carry such a spanner. When I lived in Alice there would always be 20 litres of water in the car even when we were just up and down the highway.My first response when I read the suggestion for a spanner was, well fine, but having thought about it more, I reckon you are right.
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:29

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:29
Never had a problem getting water.
Servos have always let us have water when we buy diesel. Just check first.
We pick it up from creeks and rivers.
For drinking we always chlorinate it and put it through a 0.5um active carbon filter at the tap as we consume it.

Cheers,
Peter
AnswerID: 552343

Reply By: Member - Robert1660 - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 18:48

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 18:48
Hi Robyn,
We travelled the Tanami from Alice Springs in July 2013.Halls Creek has a public fill point but they charge about 15 cents per litre. We filled up here prior to travelling to Purnululu. There is tap water available at Purnululu and great camping. We pass all the water through a BEST 1 micron inline filter.
With respect to the Gibb we stayed at Home Valley and filled the tanks before we left. On our way to Mitchell Plateau we stayed at Drysdale Station in the main camping area and again filled our water tanks.
Following on from here we went to Mornington Conservation Park where again we were able to obtain water.
I am not sure of the capability of your vehicle or camper but the Tanami and Gibb are reasonable roads. However, the trek out to the Mitchell Plateau is corrugations all the way. A very demanding drive but once you get there the magnificence of the area allows you to forget about this at least temporarily.
Have a great time!
Robert
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Follow Up By: Robyn R4 - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:43

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:43
Thanks Robert!
I'd seen a few references to water availability while I was making Gibb notes. Thanks for the exact info there...you've saved me having to go back through Ron and Viv Moon's Kimberley book to find them all again!
We have a Kia Sorento (the model that has dual range 4WD) and it's been lifted and had a snorkel added and has off-road tyres...people can never work out what model it is because it doesn't look like any other Sorento! The Beast has breezed through the Strezleki, Birdsville, wet black soil and more.
The trailer is homemade by a fitter and machinist who doesn't do things by halves (these darn fitters!) so we have faith in it doing the Tanami and GRR. Actually, it's about the size of your TVan if you exclude the fact that we just have a back door and not the cool extra tent-bit that you have, and we have no kitchen like the TVan...But we do have a solar panel, a tv, underbed storage, space for the car fridge, storage shelves...and no kitchen means that by necessity we eat out at the local pubs etc bit more often!!!
It'll be replaced by a real van in the next 12 months...we just didn't want to take a real van on the Tanami and GRR!
We don't feel the urge to do the extra-challenging Mitchell Falls Road when there are so many great places we can access more easily. As hubby says to some sights "Great experience and all, but we do have to get home again!"

Looks like I'd better hit the camping store for a filter of some sort as well as the lemon cordial!
:)
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 22:24

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 22:24
Hi Robyn,
We always carry bulk water from home plus 10 3l plastic bottles (the kind that orange juice comes in) and refill them as required. That way you can fill up with poorer quality water without contaminating your known good quality supply. And 3l bottles are much easier to handle. We find that if we ask when we refuel we will be able to fill up the smaller bottles. Sometimes the bore water doesn't taste so great but have found that proper lime cordial does wonder for the flavour. One rule we follow is that if we have an opportunity to fill empty bottles we always fill them, regardless of the quality of the water - they can easily be emptied if better quality water becomes available. Using this system we usually bring home some of the water that we set out with 2 or 3 months earlier.
Cheers,
Val.
J and V
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 23:27

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 23:27
We do a similar way to Val but often buy bottled water at supermarket for drinking and all other water for cooking and cleaning
Much better having multiple smaller containers so that you can grade your water quality and use accordingly
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Follow Up By: Robyn R4 - Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 09:39

Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 09:39
We haven't needed bigger water supplies so far because we haven't been that remote but we're about to invest in a couple of water jerry cans for ease of packing.
When it comes to decanting or refilling or cooling, hubby swears by using old wine cask bladders because they fit into whatever space is available in the car fridge. I questioned their strength but we haven't had any punctures.
Must admit, he gets funny looks holding a wine bladder to a tap to fill it up ("Geez, look at that cheapskate there at the tap watering his cheap booze down!") and when he broke 2 toes in Airlie Beach, it was a nice cold wine bladder from the car fridge that soothed the pain. I wonder what people thought when they drove out that servo and watched him sitting with a bright silver wine bladder on his foot...!
I might start saving a variety of bottles so we can be ready for anything. Thanks for the advice. And it's nice to know that water can return home after 2-3 months!

:)
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 01:09

Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 01:09
Hi Robyn

We found the bore water and the Boulia caravan park the best we'd found in the region, and filled up all our drinking water cans and bottles. Lovely.

In the Kimberley, fill everything at Kununurra for the very best water. Other Kimberley water is acceptable, but the bore water may be high in calcium.



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AnswerID: 552367

Reply By: Gustle - Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 13:11

Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 13:11
A few years ago, at a caravan show, we purchased some plastic clips, a small bucket and a hose attachment. This combination is used to collect water from your caravan awning. This little invention has saved us from moving the van to access water a number of times. During our travels, when we experience some showers, I simply hook it up to the caravan awning and let the water trickle directly to our tank or water canister. You can buy them from: wwwrainsavergutter.com.au
AnswerID: 552393

Follow Up By: Robyn R4 - Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 14:09

Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 14:09
Wow-the little devices invented by enterprising people (and the little home-made devices that are also out there!)
We have, so far, only ever succeeded in taking our cash (never rain) to drought-stricken areas.
Great for us, but not for them. Thanks for that info!

:)
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Reply By: Sigmund - Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 17:39

Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 17:39
Innamincka water slakes your appetite as well as your thirst! Comes from the Cooper.
AnswerID: 552403

Follow Up By: Robyn R4 - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2015 at 09:33

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2015 at 09:33
Yep, we've seen their water! We drank melted ice and soft drink in Innamincka. That's the day we really discovered that soft drink did absolutely nothing for a real thirst...we'd get almost to the end of the can and still be thirsty!
It's amazing how to empty your melted esky's contents onto the lawn in suburbia but drink it and relish it like a fine champagne in the outback, eh?!
The water certainly was a milky coffee colour in the river, but not a lot different to the water that we used to get pumped into our houses when we lived on the Murray River! You'd walk past a brownish coloured loo and think "how embarrassing, I'm sure I flushed!"

:)
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Reply By: LJME & LMG - Tuesday, Apr 14, 2015 at 21:45

Tuesday, Apr 14, 2015 at 21:45
We camped at Birdwood Downs, at the beginning of the GRR just outside Derby. The water there was very good and they encouraged us to fill our water tank as they said they had plenty.
AnswerID: 552465

Follow Up By: Robyn R4 - Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 08:40

Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015 at 08:40
Never heard of it! Thanks for the tip and I will look it up and make a note.
:)
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Reply By: Member - Morry H (WA) - Sunday, Apr 19, 2015 at 21:01

Sunday, Apr 19, 2015 at 21:01
Remember when carrying water it is heavy. Being overweight is a problem you also need to be aware of. Just thought I would add this after seeing how much water some people carry. Have a great trip
Titan our wonderful traveling companion

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Follow Up By: Robyn R4 - Sunday, Apr 19, 2015 at 22:22

Sunday, Apr 19, 2015 at 22:22
Thank you for your words of wisdom, Morry.
Too true.

:)
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Apr 19, 2015 at 22:49

Sunday, Apr 19, 2015 at 22:49
Agree
Concentrate on just keeping a supply of good drinking water as a seperate supply, and then you can afford not to be so fussy about whatever other water you pick up for cleaning etc

Also don't rely on a system that needs a hose to fill up, often you will need a bucket or jerry to fill up off a rainwater tank or need to collect from a river
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