Ferns beside a still pool

Drinking Water

Even though you are surrounded by a billion litres of water, getting drinking water is not always as straightforward as one would expect. There are two main options, to use the river or town supplies. The former may not be safe in the hotter summer months due to blue-green algae outbreaks. If these get too bad, it may not even be safe to continue paddling on the river!

River Water

Koala drinking water on a log that has fallen into the river

In high flows it is highly recommended to clarify and treat the water before you drink it. This will remove some toxins, extend the life of your water filter and make the water taste a lot better!

Refer to the Safety page for some of the issues related to drinking untreated water.

Refer to the Water Treatment page for various options on how you can clarify and treat water.

Blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria)

Blue-green algae is common in most freshwater systems, but some species are known to produce toxins that make the water unsafe to drink and even unsafe to touch in bad blooms. All of the major Australian rivers will have a risk and the Darling River is no exception. Blooms may not be reported from remote sections of the river.

The national algal information line 1800 999 457 for known outbreaks by Water Quality Australia. The MDBA publishes monthly updates of key rivers and WaterNSW has a real-time alert map. Other states seem to delegate reporting to their local councils or provide alerts or signage when needed.

In the event of an algae bloom, switch to town supply! There are no simple ways to remove Cyanobacteria toxins and each species has specific treatment requirements.