Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Newcastle, Australia
We found that without much effort at conservation, including two loads of dishes per day but no bathing/showering/toilet (hello baby wipes!), we were using a touch under 20L per day. Noting that’s mostly sedantry activity - sitting in the car, although I worked up quite a lather rescuing that Isuzu - and daytime temperatures were mild (low 20s maximum). We also had soft drinks and fruit juice in our daily meal plan, which reduced water consumption by an equivalent amount.
That means the trailer’s 85 litre tank lasted us four days. I had to refill in Coober Pedy, where water is (very) scarce and the taps were coin-operated. 20 cents bought 40 litres, and I needed 40 cents worth.
We also carried 25 litres in the ute tub, in a 15 litre plastic jerry and a 10 litre supermarket cask. This is planned as an emergency supply and was not counted in the four days figure above.
The rationale of keeping a supply in the tub was in case we had to abandon the trailer, or the trailer’s tank was lost or contaminated. I am pleased we did as we ran across a couple with a toddler about my son’s age in a Patrol, and their underslung (and only) water tank had had one of its fittings smashed off by a rock, so they had no water at all. Just a few dregs in a flask. That was at the end of Googs Track, and they told us they planned to drive to Tarcoola for more. Tarcoola is a ghost town, abandoned most recently around 2008 - I didn’t expect they’d find water there so we gave away our ten litre supermarket cask and refilled their flasks from our trailer. Good move, since we later ran into them again and they confirmed they didn’t find more water until Glendambo Roadhouse, a day’s drive away. And I doubt Glendambo we’re thrilled with them - it has no water supply at all, everything is either bottled or brought in by tanker truck.
I think I need to work out how to carry more. To do, say, Anne Beadell Highway we’d to nearly double our water endurance to a week. We could add a second tank to the trailer which would do exactly that, but I’m reluctant to add so much weight. And there’s some complexity involved as I’d need a transfer pump between the tanks. And the couple with the smashed tank fitting and no water could just has easily have been us, but for the grace of God... so I need to find some way to disperse 80 litres around the tub. A vertical panel tank might be the solution... or eight of those supermarket casks, which can be burnt in the fire when they’re done?
I also need to investigate filtering and purification options, since the Patrol couple actually had access to several stock dams and waterholes, had they cared to look, but they’re not drinking water. If I one day achieve my dream of driving the Canning Stock Route, it is only possible to complete this track if you draw well water along the way, which inevitably has dead stuff in it. When hiking, I use an osmosis pump and chlorine tablets, but these won’t be up to the job of producing enough water for four people.
We can also look at reducing our consumption by going for tinned meals rather than dehydrated, as tinned meals do not need water to cook and, if eaten out of the tin, don’t produce much washing up either. (For that matter they also don’t require heating, so we could use less gas, but that was not an issue for us.)