How much water to take on Canning Stock route

Submitted: Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 15:51
ThreadID: 29415 Views:5080 Replies:13 FollowUps:6
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Am currently planning on doing the Canning Stock route (starting from Wiluna on 2 Jul). Might be 3 of us in our vehicle & taking about 16 days. Am thinking about how much water i should carry given that in the WORST CASE i can top up with non-drinkable (washing) water from a number of wells, and drinkable water at Kunawarritji community. Was thinking 52+20+20=92 litres might be appropriate .. or maybe even an extra 20?

Am prepared to take a good safety margin, but like everything else weight/space limitations mean you have to be sensible about how much of a safety margin you can carry
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Reply By: WheelTravel - Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 16:12

Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 16:12
92l for 16 days?

Personally I would take well more than that...

I took 110 across the simpson for 2 ppl... and enjoyed lovely cool showers at the end of each day...

92 l in 16 days gives you bout 6l/day total

92 l in 8 days gives you 12l/day into 3 ppl is 4l pp/day

That aint much, in my humble opinion... be interested to see what others say..

AnswerID: 146814

Follow Up By: Member - Drew T (VIC) - Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 16:17

Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 16:17
yes that was my calculation .. worst case where not one well was drinkable would be 4 litres/person/day (or 4.6 litres if i took the extra 20)
FollowupID: 400286

Follow Up By: Rick (S.A.) - Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 18:15

Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 18:15
"92 l in 16 days gives you bout 6l/day total"

Not much margin for error if you get stuck and end up taking a few more days.

6 L per day does seem reasonable to me. I calculate on using this amont for my trips with 3 to 4 blokes when touring the rangelands, and in it I include washing up & cooking water (- not shower water - have a flannnel wash or a freshen up with a pump action mister).

Can I suggest that the 10 L water "boxes" one can get from supermarkets etc are a very good back up? Use these first on your trip and they really won't take up much more room - put one or two on the floor or whrever there is a small space.

Peace of mind , as well as true independance, are to be treasured on a trip like this...........or in other words, better to be safe than sorry.

FollowupID: 400306

Reply By: Ron173 - Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 16:24

Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 16:24
Hi Drew,

I'm no expert, .... but as an example the regulatory minimum in boats is 2ltrs drinking water per person per day if going outside.

So working on that it would give you 96ltr, so if you take 100 youd be close.

Thats not accounting for water to wash up etc. I'd prob take a bit extra, think on beverages etc.

One thing I would recommend though is go to camping world or similair and get yourself some tablets. They are only a few bucks but they can turn puddle water into drinkable water. They dont take out particles though, they just do the bacteria side of things. We use a britta filter to do rest, so if really stuck you can use tabs / britta and have clean drinkable water from almost any source. (within reason) Hopefully wont come to that but at least it will give you a bit of peace of mind.

You might get a reply from someone whos done it personally, but this might help your train of thought.

Enjoy the trip


AnswerID: 146816

Follow Up By: Richard & Anita (QLD), Members - Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 17:58

Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 17:58
Yes I would agree with the Tabs to clean the water. I am in the Army and we get given those Tabs(pura Tabs) (I don't know if they are the same as sold in Camping World) but they are suppose to work well, however they do put a taste in the water that is not exactly plesant. It is drinkable but I would only use it if you had too. I would be inclind to use the well water to wash dishes and shower etc, (rinse dishes after washing with the good water). That way you could carry enough water for drinking and rinsing. I would be taking at least 3lt per person per day just for drinking, and a little more to rinse the dishes with.

Remember it is one thing to take on gamble on your own life but never ever take a gamble when someone elses life is involved too.

Have fun

FollowupID: 400303

Follow Up By: Ron173 - Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 19:09

Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 19:09

I find if you put water thru the britta filter after tabs it tastes just fine.

Ours is only a cheapie $40 one but uses same cartridges as more expensive ones, I always use it to put our drinking water thru even on a site, tastes superb.

(just for the record, incase the forum police are about, LOL I have no financial interest in Britta filters! LOL) :)

FollowupID: 400312

Reply By: Member - Marquis - Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 16:45

Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 16:45
There are water holes that you can typically fill up for shower/dishes/etc every couple of days.
You may consider doing a quick side trip west (eg to Newman) to obtain more drinking water (rum, beer, food, tyre/vehicle repairs, etc).

I am thinking about travelling about Jul - depending on work
AnswerID: 146828

Reply By: DesC - Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 17:51

Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 17:51
i went through the gunbarrel & Canning in the end of march 04 (still warm) and had 2 people and a dog. We took 120 litres and didn't shower with it. Went in end of march 01 (still warm) and took about the same amount of water(top half was flooded and had to head out the wapet track through 30 flooded salt lakes). When you are the first to go through for the year it is very thirsty work spending an hour every morning cleaning the spinifex out of the 10 layers of shadecloth on your grill and bullbar and then your condenser and radiator. Then to top that climbing under your car every 20 minutes to clear the built up spinifex away from your exhaust and driveshafts. I was lucky that i didn't have to remove the radiator until we got to the open road other wise we may have needed more water. I think we may have used 60 - 70 litres out of the 120 that we took on the last trip.
AnswerID: 146839

Follow Up By: big fella - Sunday, Jan 08, 2006 at 16:49

Sunday, Jan 08, 2006 at 16:49
DesC hi just wondering if you had any trouble traveling with the dog in these areas and if you didnt are the rules still the same

Regards BigFella
FollowupID: 400559

Follow Up By: DesC - Sunday, Jan 08, 2006 at 18:48

Sunday, Jan 08, 2006 at 18:48
Had the dog for 11 years and he has been to CY x 4, Canning x 2, Simpson x 1, Gunbarrel x 1, High Country x 5, Googs, Gulf x 10 +, Arnhem land x 4, Kimberly's x 3, Oodnadatta track x 4, Birdsville x 10, Tanami, Diamantina lakes, Lawn Hill, Litchfield plus truckloads of other trips everywhere in Australia and the list goes on. Sits in the wagon for 20+hrs straight and never a problem, probably why i haven't ever had a drama because he never makes a sound so nobody knows he is there. It is very hard sometimes to get accomodation in certain areas because you are treated like a lepper when you have a dog with you. I see a couple of years ago Ayers Rock wont even allow dogs into the actual rock, but he just laid down under a blanket in the back with his Beady little eyes keeping an eye on the lady in the pay booth when we went through! But it is good to see that finally a Caravan park in Kununnurra takes dogs. Coming from the Bush it s#!ts me that when you goto the coast there are hardly any places that accept dogs but in regional areas they dont seem to care about them and in fact some hosts prefer them over kids! So if you take your dog make sure he is quiet natured like my well travelled Staffy/Bullmastiff/Pitbull cross and you should get away with it.
FollowupID: 400580

Reply By: Tony J - Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 18:15

Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 18:15
My wife and I took 105 litres with us in July 05. We spent 22 nights and 23 days out there including a trip to Rudall River Nat Park west of well 23 (fuel available from community). At the end we felt that 60 litres would have been quite enough as we utillized the wells and bores where the water quality was good. We showered every night and washed the dishes every night and washed clothing 3 or 4 times ( only took a weeks supply of clothes). Mind you, the first part of the trip the weather was cold. I did run out of beer about well 40! and then ran out of Pepsi for the rum at well 43!
Have a good trip
AnswerID: 146845

Reply By: Willem - Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 20:14

Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 20:14
We were out there 12 years ago doing a solo trip. Go to my website listed below to see an account of our trip. Once in the site click on 4x4 then Canning.

We carried 40 litres water for the two of us and topped up the supply at every well that looked potable. We did a side trek out to Helena Spring as well but the water there was not safe for drinking.

These days we carry 100 litres of water most of the time but then our journeys are becoming longer and more remote.

I carry 60 litres of water in the truck in 10lt plastic containers(Supercheap). Easy to handle.

There are lots of ways to conserve water but my rule of thumb is to top up whenever I am at water even if it does look dodgy. Bad water is better than no water at all.
AnswerID: 146864

Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Moses - Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 22:33

Friday, Jan 06, 2006 at 22:33
One of the things we have learned over the past couple of years has been to clean of plates and cutlery with paper, rag-on-a-roll or Wipeall and/or alcohol wipes to minimise the amount you need for washing up. It also speeds up lunch and tea breaks no end. Imagine cleaning up your frying pan with paper and the camp oven hardly needs a clean more than that from a roast.

Whilst not answering the question you can help yourself a bit that way. Don't try to clean sensitive parts of the body with alcohol wipes though. You may have a stinging sensation somewhere. Ok on hands and feet though.

I like the sound of the tablets and filters above too.
AnswerID: 146900

Reply By: arthurking83 - Saturday, Jan 07, 2006 at 00:14

Saturday, Jan 07, 2006 at 00:14
This may sound silly but another thing for a quick clease, is the good 'ol baby wipes (nappy wipes) especially to get rid of the dust/grit!

If someone comes along and sees you wiping your self with nappy wipes, it could be a touch embarrasing :o !!

And you all smell sweet as newborns! (especially for underarms)

Great things, just a bit embarrasing!

ps. I've never used them as a replacment for the good 'ol shower, only when travelling around the dustier regions. Good for a refreshing wipe down.
I noticed our 6 month old(at the time) looked much refreshed, so I tried one! :)
AnswerID: 146917

Reply By: Peter 2 - Saturday, Jan 07, 2006 at 08:17

Saturday, Jan 07, 2006 at 08:17
We carried about 110 litres for 3 kids, 2 adults in 92, topped up whenever we found good replaceable water, used local water for washing, ran out completely of drinking water on one stretch for about a day so used water from another vehicle (had been planned that way as he had more than he needed for one person. Had showers at wells where there was water and washed clothes etc where there was water.
Never put puritabs in fixed tanks or bladders as it is really hard (nearly impossible) to get chlorine taste out.
We did have a persistant leak in the rad crossing the Anne Beadell after the CSR, a billy full every two hours, nursed it to Coober Pedy as weather was cool and we then chopped the two tubes out that had split. That used all our water in 4 days and 60l out of second vehicle just to get one vehicle out. Yes we could have stopped and repaired it but figured we had the water so go to town.
Personally feel pretty hard to have too much water, space and weight are limitations though.
AnswerID: 146942

Reply By: Hairy - Saturday, Jan 07, 2006 at 14:25

Saturday, Jan 07, 2006 at 14:25
92L and 16 cartons of beer each should do you no problems
AnswerID: 146989

Reply By: kimprado - Saturday, Jan 07, 2006 at 17:07

Saturday, Jan 07, 2006 at 17:07
Hi Drew,

We did a study of all the wells back in 2004 including depth, capacity, recovery rate and quality (stock only).

If you wish to contact me on I'll take you through it.


AnswerID: 147021

Reply By: hankering - Saturday, Jan 07, 2006 at 22:06

Saturday, Jan 07, 2006 at 22:06
I did the CSR last August and had the capacity to carry 120 lts of water but never carred more than 80 lts this was plenty and I shared it with other people. There are plenty of wells that have water of drinking quality.
AnswerID: 147067

Reply By: Member - Drew T (VIC) - Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 09:50

Monday, Jan 09, 2006 at 09:50
Thanks for all your replies. Looks like I'll go with 92l of drinking water, which gives us 4 litre per person/day with a top up at Kunawarritji community for the second half of the trip. Just fyi .. as i use each container of drinking water I was always planning on filling them up with available well water, both for washing purposes, and as emergency drinking water (am taking steritabs/puritabs for that purpose .. used them in the Army too & never really found the taste that bad)
AnswerID: 147346

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