Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

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Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby walkingthrupuddles » Mon 04 Feb, 2013 6:30 pm

Can anyone tell me what drinking water is like on the six foot track? I will be walking it from Katoomba to Jenolan this Easter. I am thinking of getting a water filter pump for this walk. Would this be handy? Would it enable me to drink any water that I came across? I want to keep the weight down by not carrying loads of water for areas of the walk that do not have suitable drinking water. I've read on internet sites that the rain water tanks at the camp sites are not to be relied on as they can sometimes be empty. Would you be able to drink straight out of the tank anyway?
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby maddog » Mon 04 Feb, 2013 7:35 pm

The camp grounds at both Cox's river and Black Range have large concrete rainwater tanks filled from shelters separate from the toilet blocks, and the water itself is most likely good. I don't think there is much at the Alum Creek Camping Ground. There are also a number of rivers you will cross. However, these flow through grazing lands and you may be unlucky if you do not treat the water.

You might find either tablets and/or a Steripen a better choice than a filter (lighter, smaller, cheaper).
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby Turfa » Mon 04 Feb, 2013 7:49 pm

There has been a bit of rain out there over the past week so there should be water in the tanks. There will be water in the Cox's & in the river at Alum Creek campsite, but as maddog said, the area is not exactly pristine wilderness, & best not to think what is upstream on the Cox's.......I would definitely be treating the water :-)

As someone kindly pointed out to me in another thread, Aqua Mira is now available in Australia. Great water treatment option, very light & easy.

http://www.extac.com.au/McNett_Aquamira ... n41000.htm
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby colinm » Mon 04 Feb, 2013 9:27 pm

I have a steripen, and have found it fairly unreliable (at precisely the time you need to rely upon it, of course.) I've taken to pump filters since, without incident.
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby DaveNoble » Mon 04 Feb, 2013 10:57 pm

You can always boil the water in the Coxs River
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby Lindsay » Mon 04 Feb, 2013 11:34 pm

I walked the six foot track before Christmas. There was water in the Coxs and in the tanks at Coxs and Black Range. None at Alum Creek and a large, dead and smelly kangrooo in the water at Little River ford :) I treated all my water with micropur tablets and had no problems.
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby johnw » Tue 05 Feb, 2013 12:42 am

I have used water from the tanks at Black Range and Coxs River campsites without problem but would definitely treat or boil any water sources in that area.
For an ultralight solution on a 3 day trip last November I used Aquatabs to treat water from Govetts Creek. I also tried out a steripen owned by a companion on the same trip. No after effects so I assume both methods worked.
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby maddog » Tue 05 Feb, 2013 4:23 am

The tap handles, touched by the many dirty hands of drive in campers, may be a greater risk to health than the water inside the tanks. Take a small bottle of hand sanitizer if you are concerned about this.
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby Onestepmore » Tue 05 Feb, 2013 10:01 am

maddog wrote:The tap handles, touched by the many dirty hands of drive in campers, may be a greater risk to health than the water inside the tanks. Take a small bottle of hand sanitizer if you are concerned about this.


So true (public loos as well!)
Wash hands first, preferably with soapy water, then use sanitiser (which is alcohol based).

1. clean
2. disinfect

Disinfectants won't work very well with organic matter on the object
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby maddog » Tue 05 Feb, 2013 11:42 am

Onestepmore wrote:Wash hands first, preferably with soapy water, then use sanitiser (which is alcohol based).

1. clean
2. disinfect

Disinfectants won't work very well with organic matter on the object


Good to know. I hope andrewbish and others are paying attention.
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby walkingthrupuddles » Thu 21 Feb, 2013 5:28 pm

OK thanks for those comments. The Aquamira solution looks good. The survivalist in me likes the idea of a permanent pump. Can anyone advise on pumps vs tablets? Which pumps are the best and what are their drawbacks?
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby walkingthrupuddles » Sat 06 Apr, 2013 4:50 pm

Just a note. I did this walk and we drank the water out of both the rain tanks with no treatment. When it came time to treat who could be bothered with 20 mins of treatment for each litre when the chances are the rain water is fine. We also drank out of the creeks (as did many others) after assessing the catchments on a topo map. No ill effects.
I think I'll invest in a filter pump as they are mechanical (ie. no electronics involved) and they provide instant water. From what I understand it is bacteria that you are mainly concerned about when bush walking in Australia, not viruses.
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby Clusterpod » Sat 06 Apr, 2013 5:04 pm

colinm wrote:I have a steripen, and have found it fairly unreliable (at precisely the time you need to rely upon it, of course.) I've taken to pump filters since, without incident.


What reliability issues have you experienced with a steripen?
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby The Perambulator » Sat 06 Apr, 2013 7:01 pm

I walked the 6ft just before easter,I treated the water from both tanks and on a Rangers advice drank untreated water from Little River (just before Alum Creek campsite). The ranger said he would not eat fish from the Coxs River. Off topic: how many wooden steps are there from Nellies Glen to the road ?
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby colinm » Sun 07 Apr, 2013 3:53 pm

Clusterpod wrote:
colinm wrote:I have a steripen, and have found it fairly unreliable (at precisely the time you need to rely upon it, of course.) I've taken to pump filters since, without incident.


What reliability issues have you experienced with a steripen?


Both kinds of problems, the sudden and the unpredictable. :)

Ok, there appears, to me, to be no way to tell when the battery's going to go suddenly flat. I have never gotten the advertised number of litres out of a battery (either rechargeable or precharged.) Next: dipping the thing in too far seems to short something, aborting the run. Third: Occasionally I'd get the red-blinking light (whatever the failure indication was) and then without changing anything it would work next try - erratic enough behaviour that I began to wonder whether I'd even dosed the water.

Also (this is more a design issue) the water has to be pellucidly clear or the UV can't work. Fair enough, that's the nature of the method, but by the time I've filtered the water for suspended solids (while practicing proper propyhlactic separation of water while balanced on the side of a creek) I may as well have just filtered it. In particular, I have no way to sterilise the lip of the bottle I'm decanting into using the steripen, so any droplets may be contaminated and would then contaminate the whole, I presume.

So, in summary: I have been caught with failing electrical supply enough times to suspect the mechanism itself, and I'm just not neat enough to use one. Oh, and the batteries for my model cost heaps.

It's a shame, because it's a technology I really want to love.
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby Clusterpod » Sun 07 Apr, 2013 4:23 pm

Thanks for taking the time to answer.

I've used mine without fault for several years, so was very interested. Maybe you have a faulty one?

Mine takes AA batteries, and as I carry a camera flash and GPS that also take AA, so I carry several sets of backups anyway.

Contamination from multiple containers is certainly something I've considered, and other than a quick wipe down I feel that theres not much else to be done.
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby Solohike74 » Fri 19 Apr, 2013 11:44 am

I will be starting out on the track this Sunday/Monday at Katoomba. At least if water is doubtful, boiling on the trangia is good as the fuel is very cheap. Ill be using my trangia burner in a Clikstand to reduce pack.volume & weight. At least my 24oz tent from Six Moon Designs will take a big load off my shoulders.
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby ULWalkingPhil » Fri 19 Apr, 2013 12:50 pm

Solohike74 wrote:I will be starting out on the track this Sunday/Monday at Katoomba. At least if water is doubtful, boiling on the trangia is good as the fuel is very cheap. Ill be using my trangia burner in a Clikstand to reduce pack.volume & weight. At least my 24oz tent from Six Moon Designs will take a big load off my shoulders.


If you could let us know the water situation on your return, that would be great, as I'm hiking the track in 4 weeks.
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby pvatkins » Wed 26 Jul, 2017 3:54 pm

Hi. I'm doing the 6ft track this week and was wondering what the water situation was like in the tanks and streams given they've had very little rain over the past 6 weeks. Any advise gratefully received! Many thanks, Pete.
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Re: Drinking Water on Six Foot Track

Postby jimmeyer176 » Sat 29 Jul, 2017 8:14 pm

The Perambulator wrote:I walked the 6ft just before easter,I treated the water from both tanks and on a Rangers advice drank untreated water from Little River (just before Alum Creek campsite). The ranger said he would not eat fish from the Coxs River. Off topic: how many wooden steps are there from Nellies Glen to the road ?


I lost count earlier today at 533 however I was counting all principle steps, including rocks, not just wooden ones
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