water supplies for the big trip

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 14:40
ThreadID: 54191 Views:3495 Replies:15 FollowUps:10
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hi, just trying to pick your brains and workout what those experienced travellers do. we are planning to go for a trip around the block in a couple of years, our plan is to mainly 'bush type camp' so my question is how do you keep up your water supplies? we have a caravan with the water tank in it but once that has gone where do we fill it without going to caravan parks. we have got 2 water filters that came with the van but not sure how drinkable they would make some water.
thanks all help appreciated Chris
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Reply By: Steve from Top End Explorer Tours - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 14:43

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 14:43
I found most servo's would allow you to top up if you ask nicely, Just ask if it is drinkable.

Cheers Steve.
AnswerID: 285346

Follow Up By: Steve from Top End Explorer Tours - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 14:46

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 14:46
It would be polite to purchase fuel food etc first.

Cheers Steve.
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Reply By: Scubaroo - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 14:54

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 14:54
Had the same question for an upcoming 10 week trip. Have heard numerous first hand warnings telling me not to mix water from different sources.

Renting a camper trailer, and as far as I know, it doesn't have a water filter on the tank.

I'm planning on buying one of these prior to the trip for filtering water prior to drinking/cooking use:

Katadyn camp filter

Basically hang it up each night with water from the tank, and filter into a 20L plastic drum for drinking supply, so that we're always drinking filtered water. Hopefully will eliminate any nasties that find their way into the onboard tank from dubious sources.

It's meant to be used for "base camping" where it's being filled from river or lake water, but I'll try and avoid that situation!
AnswerID: 285351

Follow Up By: Member - Hurkmagurk (WA) - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 17:58

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 17:58
Hi Sku
They don't appear to be represented in Oz. Can you please advise where you will purchase
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Follow Up By: Scubaroo - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 20:43

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 20:43
Probably Amazon. I have relatives in the US if I can't find someone to ship to Oz at a reasonable price. Will be picking up a spare filter as well - which appears to be about two thirds of the overall cost!
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Reply By: DIO - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 14:59

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 14:59
If the drought continues many communities will be reluctant to share too much of their valuable drinking water. Perhaps you may have to consider buying it - just like they do - perhaps cartons of water from the Supermarket or in bulk from one of those water bottle re-filling machines (vending type) starting to appear in the community.
For far too long we have just taken it for granted that water replenishment when travelling was simply a matter of turning on a/or someone elses tap. Me thinks that those days are vanishing. Just like food, petrol/fuel, souveniers etc you want - you pay.
Of course you could be lucky and gather/catch rainwater or have a suitable filtration system and use river water - probably isn't much worse than we get now from the mains distribution system.
As for the filtration system in your van, you might have to do some experimenting with various sources of water and get them tested in a laboratory as to the suitability for human consumption.
AnswerID: 285353

Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:01

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:01
Hi Chris

When re-fuelling and if needing water, we ask if we can fill up our water tanks and check out the hose fittings first. If necessary we will move on to a dearer servo so we can get water.

Some towns have a watering point for tourists.

If in remote and arid areas, i would not object to having to pay for water.

As water quality in different towns varies, we have a separate drinking water tank to use only if the refills taste bad. That way it usually lasts a long time.

The worst water we got was in Murray Bridge SA - horrible even in a cup of tea. Best was rain water from an EO member's tank. Second best was from a small river on a farm in Tassie where we stayed. They pumped from it for stock water and we kept our tanks topped up - clear and just like rain water.

Our travels have not as yet taken us into areas where we may need other sources of water. Some caravaners travel with a water bladder or pump and filters for refilling from wells or streams.

We also carry 20 litre cannisters of drinking in the tow vehicle.

Motherhen
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AnswerID: 285354

Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 22:48

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 22:48
Hi Motherhen

>The worst water we got was in Murray Bridge SA<

Hahahahahaha!!!!

I was about to fill my plastic jerry from a tap in a park when a 'local' shouted at me "Hey Cuz, that water is S...... cos it comes straight out the river. Go down the laneway next to the NAB and behind the bank there is a rainwater tank, That be plurry good water, mate!"

Talk to the locals... you might just learn something....lol


Regards
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 00:12

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 00:12
Hi Willem - We didn't meet any of my 'cousins' day. Anyway, we still had our tank of drinking water, and the Murray water was OK for showering. Soon replaced with plurry good Victorian rain water.

Mh
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 00:13

Monday, Feb 04, 2008 at 00:13
Now where's that edit function? "We didn't meet any of my 'cousins' that day." Must be toooo late at night.

Mh
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Reply By: Notso - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:02

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:02
Most servo's have a water tap, a lot of National Parks and camp grounds have water taps also.

Some of the water is pretty hard, actually in some places you have to run the tap for a while then break off the flow then chew it like an icy pole.

If you come by some good water fill your tanks with it and use it for drinking etc and have a couple of Jerry cans for washing/showering etc.
AnswerID: 285355

Reply By: Tim Owen - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:19

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:19
We didn't take a hose or any fittings on our trip. When we got stuck, we were often helped out by Tourist Info Centres. My suggestion would be to take a variety of fittings. We also found a lot of taps, especially in Council parks/toilet blocks etc, where the 'head' has been removed preventing blighters from turning on (and leaving on) taps. Take your own tap 'head' (not sure what they are called - handle - the bit your turn anyway).
AnswerID: 285360

Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:36

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:36
Sure they dont take the handles off the taps to prevent blighters from draining all their water into their caravans?
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Follow Up By: Tim Owen - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 17:03

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 17:03
Maybe - I can think of two examples (Tom Price and Halls Creek) where I sought permission first, and still couldn't get the water because no-one had a handle - and I wasn't smart enough to get a wrench out of the toolbox. In one case this was at a Council run Tourist info centre and another the Police Station. I think in most cases you would be taking water from a public instrumentality. I'd seek permission where possible, but would take water without it if necessary. If a commercial service provider (servo) has taken the handles off, permission needed, but I think the message is already clear. If you are taking water from someones private tap without permission you are a theif. That is how I approach it.
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Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:33

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:33
I carry one of those shower hose kits that you push on to ordinary taps, about $5. I have cut off the shower rose at one end and one of the tap hoses on the other end, this leaves me with a rubber cup that will push fit over most taps and a short length of hose. I can push the cup end over a basin tap and fill a jerry can if required. I also try and drink only bottled water from the supermarket and use my tank for washing and cooking water only (usually involves boiling first anyway).
AnswerID: 285362

Reply By: Member - Uncle (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:38

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:38
We usually carry about 140 litres with us while travelling. In the past while prospecting in the bush in remote areas for weeks at a time we have also run a chain off the big tarp into a 20 litre bucket when it rains,(to top up supplies ) however now we have upgraded to a childs inflatable pool, which packs up small and is very light to carry. Holds approx 120 litres, usually use this for showering and wash up water first.cheers unc
AnswerID: 285363

Reply By: Member - Oldbaz. NSW. - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:48

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 15:48
Hi Chris, I suggest you look at water in two ways..
1. Drinking water...instead of worrying about purity, filtering gizmos, getting poor quality etc etc...simply buy it in bottles.
Keep some in your onboard fridge /cooler. Or alternatively obtain from any town supply...all are drinkable usually unless stated otherwise. As a last resort.. boil it...any water is safe if boiled.
2. Bathing/washing etc...quality isnt important although most of us
prefer water to look clean& some may not lather much. Fill your van tank at servos or wherever. We carry 2 by 20 L plastic containers & find this adequate for bush camping by 4 adults per
day. We refill from first source...creek, servo, park etc.
Just one more suggestion...dont put all your eggs.... if you hole
your tank you may be waterless. cheers...oldbaz.
AnswerID: 285366

Follow Up By: Member - Leave_enough_space - Tuesday, Feb 05, 2008 at 07:44

Tuesday, Feb 05, 2008 at 07:44
"As a last resort.. boil it...any water is safe if boiled"

Oldbaz,

No doubt you have survived as long as you have by boiling your water, but your statement is not entirely correct.

Boiling may get rid of the 'bugs' but it won't deal with polluted water, which can be just as hazardous for your health!
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Reply By: gonebush SA - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 17:42

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 17:42
hi again, is there a test kit available for us layman to test the quality of the water for drinking? or do we just highjack a chemist?. we have in the past got water from servos - always ask first though and usually fill up aswell (it only seems right). but my thinking is that sometimes this might be bore water and would that be ok to drink if it's run through the filters and then boiled?
Chris
AnswerID: 285388

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val W (ACT) - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 22:36

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 22:36
Plenty of places use bore water (including hot bore water) for domestic supplies, often with little or no treatment, apart from letting stand and cool. There may be salts in it and it will taste different but that does not necessarily mean that its not useable.

If in doubt, boil it. As others have said, dont put all your (water) eggs in one basket - use multiple containers, and keep drinking water separate. If you run short of water you can cut down on most water use - except for drinking.

For 2 adults used to tank water, we carry 60 litres in large containers and a further 30 litres in 3 litre ex-juice bottles. We top up at every opportunity and have never run out, and never had a container fail. Even after being away for 2 or 3 months and going into desert areas we sometimes bring home some of our original bulk water.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
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Reply By: jdwynn (Adelaide) - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 17:51

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 17:51
Chris

Check out products at these sites:
msr
aquagiv

Also, Its worth checking out the system used by Bushtracker caravans. Exxy but impressive. Several elements to it. UV lamp kills the nasties though whereas I dont think most systems out there actually do that.

Other thing is plan it. We got advice from EO forum post on water sources in the Simpson and surprisingly there were quite a few. You could do same - just put out a post requesting info forward of where you are on your trip from time to time when near a net cafe.

cheers JD


AnswerID: 285392

Reply By: Member - Brian (WA) - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 18:21

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 18:21
Back about 8yrs ago we stopped at a small North West WA town.
After putting $200 fuel in two 4bys asked if we could fill up my mates tank, We got knocked back. Guess we picked the wrong place to refill.
AnswerID: 285396

Reply By: Baz & Pud (Tassie) - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 20:53

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 20:53
gonebush
Agree with all that has been said above and am surprised that all the mainland travellers haven't mentioned this one.

Nine times out of ten you can find a water tap at the local cemetery, but taste water first to see if OK.

B & P
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AnswerID: 285425

Reply By: Willem - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 22:57

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 22:57
Chris

We spent 5 years on the wallaby towing a 27footer. I bought it as a shell and kitted it out. It did not have a water tank.

Most country towns have a park dedicated either by Lions or Rotary or Apex Service Cluibs or maybe just by the local council. In 99% of towns we travelled through these parks had a freshwater tap. Sometimes it was bore water but we learned to live with that. Sometimes it was artesian water and you had to let this settle overnight and then skim the fresh water off the top the next day.

Recently I paid 50c/l for desalinised water at Caiguna on the Eyre Hwy as I wasn't sure of water supplies along the Connie Sue.

Always top up your water at the earliest convenience.


Cheers
AnswerID: 285457

Reply By: westskip - Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 23:03

Sunday, Feb 03, 2008 at 23:03
Hi Chris

We did the trip half way round the block in 2006 and carried the normal 60l in the van plus another 100l in the vehicle. Found that we could last a week at most places sometimes up to 10 days if there was creek water available for washing. We mixed water from quite a variety of sources without any trouble.

Westskip
AnswerID: 285459

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