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Water wise on the road

Smarter rigs riding on tougher tread are taking more of us further into Australia’s dry heart. But with so many comforts at hand we sometimes fail to be water wise on the road when we forget where we are.

Between showering, laundering, washing and drinking, two can easily use 200L in a weekend without a thought. But a little water wisdom will quickly slash consumption allowing longer stints between stops.

Here are some of our top water saving tips for when need it most.

Water wise on the road



When water’s at a premium, placing a large round bowl within the sink can save precious litres otherwise lost in the corners.

You’ll use less water, too, if you wipe food from dishes first with paper towel. And opting for one-pot meals significantly reduces your dish load.



Clothing choices impact water usage. And natural, antibacterial fibres like bamboo, viscose and wool for thin weaves to save on laundering.

Wringable synthetics are great for bulkier outer layers as wool and bamboo really retain water and take a long time to dry. Jackets with removeable inner layers are brilliant.

Sports-style ‘camping’ towels require less room in the wash and wring to near dry. But pay attention to dimensions as genuine work-out towels are small.



It can be hard to save on water when you’re travelling with kids, as campsite adventures are often messy.

But you can keep tabs on usage with a manual pump attached to a drinking/handwashing station. Water spray bottles, wipes and antibacterial hand-wash provide water saving means to quick cleans.



Travellers can quickly use vast amounts of water in the shower with many caravan shower heads flowing up to 4-5L a minute. For how long will depend on your hot water system assuming it has a tank (about 35L usage in 7 minutes, on a 22L hot water tank).

Reducing the flow via the mixer a simple effective fix. Or you can try stopping the shower part way to soap up before a rinse, an old travellers’ trick.

Some shower heads have flow settings–and pause buttons–for a measured approach. Check your outdoor shower head, as it may use less.

Your external shower outlet may use less than the shower in your van. A quick water wise for travellers


Laundering is another water waster but when you team a good biodegradable wool wash with a reduced cycle you can really cut your rinse times down.

For a real water saver, try washing clothes within a large, sealed bucket as you drive.



Water quality varies in arid and semi-arid regions. So thoroughly research the situation when plotting your route, planning tops up as you would fuel.

In areas of drought, you can’t assume its included with a powered site. Thankfully, though, some visitor centres let you fill up. Again, plan ahead to make sure.

An inline water filter and food grade hoses protect your tanks. But if you’re topping up in areas where the water quality isn’t great flush it out on your return.




If you’re travelling with a chemical toilet always use the chemicals prescribed and dispose at designated dump sites. Chemical toilet waste damages drop toilets.

The chemicals in your porta-potti can damage necessary bacteria in a drop toilet


No access to sullage and a grey water tank? Sparingly use biodegradeable detergent and direct filtered wastewater no closer than 35m from a water source.



Relying on natural water sources comes at a risk but if plans go astray you may be able to boil the water or use water purification tablets. Check out Better Health’s advice for managing the risks.


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