Conserving water when out remote

This topic must come up now and then being a critical part of traveling remote in Australia. We have adequate water tanks in the camper and a separate water tank under the car but on our last camp I got to wondering how to conserve water even more without too much inconvenience.

I noticed that we have a bucket under the sink in the camper to catch the dish water so not to have muddy feet where we are preparing a meal. This bucket of grey water is then thrown out on a nearby lucky shrub. Could it be possible to reuse this water. Not as it is but say by distilling it into pure clean drinkable water.

The question is has anyone tried to distill water while camping. Is it worth it - or does it just take too long and the equipment required take up too much room when out remote camping. (I know every item needs to be carefully judged as 'do we really need to take that')

Or is there another way to turn the grey water into useable water when remote traveling.

Cheers

Serendipity



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Reply By: Mad Habits - Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 23:39

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 23:39
G'day, have a look at this Dirty water to fresh several ways to make one cheaply there.
Cheers Nigel
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Reply By: Member - Josh- Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 23:56

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2012 at 23:56
Try one of these
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Follow Up By: Wayne david - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 09:00

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 09:00
Gosh Josh!!!

Interesting topic this and that filter that Pat is showing is good viewing and certainly seems a good idea as a 'just in case'.

Living as I do on a property and filtering my lovely fresh rain water from the tank into the house, I'm always concerned about the removal of possible bacteria etc. Our tank water is checked regularly, is beautiful and I still filter it.

What I find is that my filters need changing every so often depending on the microns of the filter used.

So.....I am wondering about Pat's filter and just how to clean it. I mean it's not like you have loads of fresh water to give it a decent rinse and clean with.

Also wondering after seeing Pat take a sip, if he's still alive and well. ;)

Cheers - Wayne D
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Follow Up By: Member - Josh- Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 19:01

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 19:01
Hi Wayne, I grew up on a farm and always drank tank water. Never ever filtered it. When down the paddock working would go to the cattle trough and have a drink. I remember one stinking hot day taking a long drink and then looking up to see a cow drinking from the other side looking at me funny "like what are you doing drinking my water". LOL.
When we travelled we filtered our water but mainly to get the chlorine taste out.
I don't really know to much info about the filter Pat uses but when I read this thread, thought it would be worth posting.
I remember walking up a creek once fishing. The sides were thick with blackberry bushes so had to walk in the water. It was a very hot day so drank a lot of water from the creek. Walked for miles up the creek doing this until I found a fat, bloated dead sheep in the water. I wasn't so thirsty walking back down the creek. I never got sick from any of this water so now I wonder why fiilters are such a big industry.
Filtering water in the outback is a different story though as it is in limited supply.

Josh
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Reply By: Member - Redbakk (WA) - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 00:16

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 00:16
Hello Serendipity, I have been working on this for quite awhile as apart from everything else, water is the thing that determines the length of time you can stay in one place unless you have access to a good supply. However most times the quality can be questionable.

So I have been developing a way to cope with any quality of water no matter how dubious. Since when free camping "time" to process the water is not usually a problem and figuring that I needed to only refill my tanks ( 2x90 litres ), I have been developing a water cleaning process to bring water form a even a muddy condition to a piont where we can use it to shower and wash with it.

We always carry 5x15 litre containers of drinking and cooking water and brushing our teeth. ( much the same you do when in Bali.) The water I will be cleaning up is for washing and bathing only.

So the process takes the muddy water ( maybe even with a dead roo or two in it.) through a series of steps using chemical, filters and a water conditioner to a usable quality.....it can be done....it the finer points of the process that I am working through, but so all the equipment needed will set me back around $300.

Up until now it has been a process of obtaining water from various sources ie road houses etc and then stretching it out to make it last and as we have camped near some water that was questionable to say the least I have wondered if i could work with it and use it with confidence.....I now think I can.
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Reply By: The Explorer - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 00:20

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 00:20
Hi..

Obvioulsy no good for large volumes ...but suck on one of these ..not sure I'd try it with the dish water but if I was thirsty...

Outdoor Gear Water Purification

Recycling large volumes of water so you can wash your dishes is a bigger challenge...best solution being don’t use lots of water in the first instance.

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Robin Miller - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 08:47

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 08:47
Yep , not using much in the first place is our line also Greg - for years now we have only ever planned for the 2 lt per person per day with an average closer to 1.5lt , but of course this means you don't even wash dishes, just wipe clean etc.
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Follow Up By: Wayne david - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 09:40

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 09:40
Using water in a smart way is obviously the way to go. And I got to say that my navigator is amazing when we're camping she can clean & rinse the dishes with a very small amount of water.

I'd reckon we get by on around 1 - 2 Lt per day each. And that's for consumption and cleaning. With the bathing it's the good old ABC wash with a cloth and hot water. For drinking we boil and cool.

And now for a little story - My dear old Dad told me about visiting country people where water may have been a problem. Mum & Dad had just enjoyed a lovely meal with them and were were sitting around the dinner table enjoying after meal chat & banter.

Next Mum offered to clear the table and help with the dishes (as you do) and heard this 'oh don't worry water will clean that' comment, coming from the lady of the house. And was gestured to just sit down and relax.

Next thing "water, water, water" was called out in a loud voice, and in trotted a whopping big mutt. 'Water' then proceeded to lick and clean the plates.

Now my Dad was no shrinking violet but that was somewhat excessive even for him. I think from then on anything shared with those kind folk may have come from a sealed bottle & no glass required.

True story!

How's that for conserving?

Cheers & beers - Wayne
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Follow Up By: Member - IdahOz - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 17:16

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 17:16
I haven't really tried to 'purify' the grey water while camping. You can conserve water in the first place by using paper plates etc, and wiping utensils and dishes with paper towels instead of washing. You have to reconcile your conscience about using up the resources, and it takes more room to bring extra paper products, but as with everything it is a trade off. We use washable dishes when there is a water source and paper when 'dry' camping. Then you only need to wash the baked or burned on foods with water, and even then you can re-use the water you boiled the pasta in! Also one pot dishes such as stews and similar concoctions save washing up as does using bread or buns in place of plates.
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Follow Up By: Member - VickiW - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 19:58

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 19:58
We have often used sand to clean dishes if hiking / camping. Just wipe out with a cloth after. Not dead yet.
But car camping I wash up with a small amount of water, if need be & available using creek water. My biggest water consumption by far is morning coffee (which is boiled anyway) & water bottles during the day.
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Reply By: Life Member - Phil B (WA) - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 03:49

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 03:49
Hi all,

When remote I protect all the water from home like its gold and pick up whatever water I can on the way from bores, rockholes etc for washing clothes, dishes, showering etc.

Here's a gadget I made from PVC pipe and a clack valve from a retic supplier. Its easily lowered down a bore casing and hey presto - H20

Image Could Not Be Found

all the best


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Follow Up By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 08:23

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 08:23
That is pretty clever gadget you have developed there. But a lot of the bore casings I seem to come across are 30m plus deep. Do you lower it down all the way and fill with water and then pull up the tube filled with water. Probably faster than boiling a billy to steam.

Have you looked at a small pump. Could a pump be used in that situation to pump that much distance?

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Follow Up By: The Explorer - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 10:02

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 10:02
Hi

Discussion on getting water out of bores here...

Water out of bores

You can purchase bailers pretty cheap if making one is too much of a challenge (see links in abovementioned thread).

There is also a link in the thread for bore pumps - 30m is a long way so you'll need the biggest and best.

Cheers
Greg
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Follow Up By: Life Member - Phil B (WA) - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 10:14

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 10:14
Hi Serendipity and Greg,

I agree about many bores being deep to 30m plus, the one in the picture was.

The baler took just under 2 litres per drop, we had turns in walking the rope out. You would be surprised how quickly you can get the water out. A 2 litre pull is about as heavy as you would want to go.
We quickly found that its better to put the rope over your shoulder and walk away from the bore rather than pull hand over hand.
From memory we got around 115-20 litres out of this bore.

I would like a 12 volt job but the price of one that would pull from that depth at least, put it out of consideration. My baler costs about $20 (without the rope), has no 'moving' parts and is light to cart and pack.

cheers
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Reply By: Member - Serendipity(WA) - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 08:17

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 08:17
Thanks guys - some good replies.

One I have seen was where a pair of early gold prospectors made more money from selling water than finding gold because they had developed a portable still to boil salt water or other undrinkable water into fresh water. Many early gold prospectors died of thirst from rushing out to areas with no readily available water source.

I also saw on 'Northern Safari' movie (sold at the shop here on ExOz) about how when up in the gulf country they would take a home pressure cooker to turn sea water into drinking water.

These sort of things would only work if you where parked up for a while in one spot and had the time to boil the billy non stop.

Just considering things to make myself more independent when out bush.

Cheers

Serendipity



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Reply By: Member - wicket - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 09:48

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 09:48
Remember seeing this on the new inventors show




solar water purifier

AnswerID: 490167

Reply By: mick - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 11:05

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 11:05
Found this whilst browsing, not sure of the cost

http://www.drinkwell.com.au/support/67
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Follow Up By: mick - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 11:07

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 11:07
Just found it! $540 for personal use and $1500 for family.

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Reply By: Motherhen - Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 22:45

Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 at 22:45
Hi Serendipity

We can managed, aside from fresh drinking water, on very few litres per day when we have to. This allows for a full body wash for both of us every night. If have a lot of hints on how to do this, as well as links to real emergency procedures to obtain survival quantities of drinking water in a critical situation. Distilling would be a slow process, but it is one of the survival methods. PM me if you would like to know about these ideas. If we can supplement our water supply by drawing water when convenient and using direct from the bucket rather than put it into our tanks, we can last many weeks on what we carry. We always have back up water in the tow vehicle. Water is critical to survival so it is best to be informed before going outback. You never know when you could be stranded by a breakdown.

Motherhen
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