Mirror surface on a river

Drinking Water

Water sustains all.

Thales of Miletus

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!

Quick Links

River Water

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

Some locals do drink the water directly from the river in Kosciuszko National Park and between the Hume Dam and Albury. Having been sick after a water filter failed in Kosciuszko National Park, I would not recommend doing this!

The water tends to be fairly clear down to about Albury unless it is in flood. This makes it easy to treat the water without having to worry about a clarification step. Below Albury, I found I had to both clarify the water and then treat the water to make it safe. Below Albury and without clarification, I would only get maybe 1 L of water through my MSR Ceramic filter before I would have to clean it.

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 Murray River is no exception. Blooms seem to be most common in the still waters between the Hume Dam and the SA border but they could occur anywhere along 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. None are overly useful for those traversing the entire river though as blooms are rare in SA having decent data from NSW should suffice.

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.

Alpine Water Sources

There were few creeks with running water above the Murray, when I passed through the area in the summer of 2019/20. Starting from the Alpine Way parking spot, I have noted below all of the main primary water sources and distances that I found:

Thredbo River (2.2 km)
After following the river upstream the crossing represents the last water before Cascade Creek.
Cascade Creek (6.5 km)
Decent flow, also accessible from Cascade Hut
Tin Mine Creek (33.9 km)
Decent flow
Murray River (15.8 km)
Slight flow seen from the spring at Cowombat Flat just above the track crossing, it was dry upstream.
Pilot Creek
This had a larger flow than the Murray at Cowombat Flat, ~1.5 km downstream along the Murray.

I managed to also find a few seeps across the track at times, but these were barely flowing. I managed to collect maybe a cup of water every 5 minutes from these. I'm not proud to say it, but I even had to dig for water once when I was severely dehydrated. I got maybe a half cup of polluted looking water that was enough to get me down to the next water source.

Town Supplies

Let us know if any of the listed town water sources are incorrect or if you have found additional sources.

When letting us know about new sources, let us know if it is a tap, drinking fountain, etc, and simple instructions to find it along with the approximate coordinates.

You can use Google Maps or similar tools to help get the coordinates. A demo using Google Maps for how I got the Renmark drinking fountain coordinates.

Here is a list of various public water points that are known on the river. This does not include camping grounds, private homes, businesses or shops that will be able to provide additional water points.

Town(s) Water Source Distance
Thredbo Toilets In park beside skate ramp in Village Green off Friday Drive
Towong None1 14 km
Tintaldra None1 30 km
Jingellic None11 40 km
Lake Hume Village Tap There is a tap beside the Hume Dam Lookout, 375 m detour. 129 km
From Bringenbrong
199 km
Unknown Apex Park (The Pines) beside a boat ramp may have something.
Albury, NSW / Wodonga, VIC Drinking Fountain Beside the Mitta Mitta Canoe Club, Albury 26 km
Howlong, NSW Tap Memorial Park 65 km
Corowa, NSW / Wahgunyah, VIC Toilets4 Tap and Toilets at Rowers Park Corowa 46 km
Tap Boat ramp and toilets 2 km downstream in Corowa. Tap beside a power pole.
Yarrawonga, VIC / Mulwala, NSW Drinking Fountain4 Tap, drinking fountain and toilet in JW Purtle Reserve and Park. Foodworks nearby. Mulwala 81 km
Toilets4 Tap and toilet in Apex Park. Mulwala
Toilets4 Tap and toilet, The Owen Bridges Reserve and Boat Ramp. Mulwala
Toilets Maybe potable? Beside the main bridge. Yarrawonga
Cobram, VIC / Barooga, NSW Tap Cobram, beside picnic tables at beach downstream of the bridges 67 km
Tocumwal, NSW Tap10 BBQ area over the levy near the pontoon / boat ramp 28 km
Taps10 Tap around the council run Town Beach Caravan Park
Barmah, VIC Unknown 121 km
Echuca, VIC / Moama, NSW Tap Tree in the Aquatic Reserve beside the Info Centre. (Tap key may be required sometimes5). Echuca 49 km
Drinking Fountain5 Near the Thong Trees. Echuca
Torrumbarry Weir Unknown 83 km
Barham, VIC / Koondrook, NSW Tap Barham foreshore by the bridge is labelled potable, but the water was cloudy and hot. Non-potable? 102 km
Swan Hill, VIC Tap Outside BBQ shelter near the 10 Steps and another just before the bridge. Two of four in Riverside Park.6 111 km
From Echuca
296 km
Nyah, VIC Unknown 52 km
Wood Wood, VIC Unknown 14 km
Tooleybuc, NSW Drinking fountain Beside playground above pontoon 17 km
From Swan Hill
83 km
Boundary Bend Unknown 89 km
Robinvale Toilets Beside the boat ramp before the camping ground. Seems potable? 89 km
From Tooleybuc
178 km
Tap The Arts Centre across the road from the boat ramp has a tap that seems potable.
Nangiloc Unknown 147 km
Mildura, VIC / Buronga & Gol Gol, NSW Drinking Fountain7 James King Park, Gol Gol 78 km
From Robinvale
225 km
Drinking Fountain Fountain with tap on the waterfront; Splash park has another fountain, Mildura.9
Merbein, VIC Unknown 15 km
Wentworth Drinking Fountain7 Beside toilets, Junction Park 39 km
From Mildura
54 km
Lock 9 Unknown 61 km
Lock 8 Unknown 39 km
Lock 7 Unknown 29 km
Lock 6 Unknown 77 km
Renmark Drinking Fountain

Drinking Fountain beside the Info Centre.

Other sources can be found near the Town Fountain () and also near Arthur Shepherd Lions Park ( downstream by boat ramp)8

52 km
From Wentworth
258 km
Berri Drinking Fountain2 North side of the visitor information centre (Riverview Drive) 42 km
Loxton Tap3 At the four bay BBQ shelter, John Hamilton Memorial Lions Park 37 km
Moorook Tap Beside shed at waterfront downstream slightly of the boat ramp. 37 km
Waikerie Toilets It is worth checking the water park behind these for a fountain 70 km
Morgan Toilets Along road, just up past camping ground 64 km
Blanchetown Tap RV Dump by park off the river slightly. Below the lock. Track to tap.
Swan Reach Unknown 29 km
Punyelroo Unknown 5.4 km
Nildottie Unknown 17 km
Wongulla Unknown 8.7 km
Walker Flat Unknown 8.4 km
Bowhill Unknown 22 km
Mannum Tap Tap on a tree beside toilets. 35 km
From Blanchetown
125 km
Murray Bridge Drinking Fountain Beside toilets near the Bunyip12 39 km
Tailem Bend Unknown 25 km
Wellington Unknown 13 km
From Murray Bridge
38 km
Goolwa Tap Playground near the kids swim area on Barrage Rd, Goolwa.
Another fountain is plained for Liverpool Rd near the public toilet in August 2021.13
65 km
open water
85 km
east shoreline

The locations are shown in the interactive map below:

  • Tap or Drinking Fountains
  • Toilets

Information Sources
Myself in the summer of 2020/21 unless otherwise indicated:
1 Towong District Council, 2021
2 Berri Barmera Council, 2021
3 Loxton Waikerie District Council, 2021
4 Federation Council, 2021
5 Campaspe Shire Council, 2021
6 Swan Hill Rural City Council, 2021
7 Wentworth Shire Council, 2021
8 Additional sources Renmark Paringa Council, 2021
9 Additional sources Mildura Rural City Council, 2011
10 Berrigan Shire Council, 2011
11 Snowy Valleys Council, 2011
12 Rural City of Murray Bridge Council, 2011
13 Alexandrina Council, 2011