Caravanners accused of stealing water from towns on SA’s Eyre Peninsula

Published: May 12, 2023

Caravanners have once again been accused of stealing water as they pass through South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.

Elliston Football Club president, Craig Penna, told the ABC that the precious resource had been stolen from his club and the town’s sports centre.

“We are having a lot of water stolen by caravanners who are going around needing to fill their water tanks and this is water that we have harvested for use in our footy change rooms and kitchens,” he said.

Mr Penna told the ABC it was hard to tell how much water had been stolen but he believed it to be more than 1,000 litres in the past year.

The football club has removed its taps to try to stop people stealing its water, but Mr Penna said thieves were still finding a way to drain its supply.

“I’ve had phone calls from people saying they’ve seen three or four caravans and RVs pull up at the club helping themselves to water,” he said.

Streaky Bay District Council chief executive Damian Carter said travellers were also topping up their water supplies at cemeteries and the RSL.

He told the ABC there was a recent incident in Perlubie during which people broke into and stole water from a tank designed to supply the town’s public toilets, leaving the council to repair and refill the tank for use.

“There is a core group of people who believe they shouldn’t have to pay for anything, they believe their expenditure in the township pays for them visiting and having free campsites,” Mr Carter said.

The ABC reports that Streaky Bay Council provides a water top up point, offering people 10 litres of water for $1.  It has budgeted for an additional water point this financial year.

A similar claim about caravanners pilfering water near Streaky Bay was made last year.

  • Have you ever been guilty of water pilfering in a country town? Comment below.

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Several years ago we were at a rest area in QLD, the septic tank was overflowing to the point that the toilets weren’t flushing, people staying there at the time obviously in self contained rigs were continuing to use same, they were in a disgusting mess, a council truck arrived from some kms away & pumped the septic tank out, the next morning to our amazement a bloke was filling containers from a tank alongside a picnic table shelter & filling his water tank, he only stopped when he saw me photographing his behaviour.

Maybe we should all speak up, politely, when we see this happen. Let them know it is not appropriate. If they continue then at least they know they are doing the wrong thing. Then we can only walk away in disgust.

There are too many “self-appointed policemen” out on the road as it is telling folk how to act. We do not want to encourage more please Gillian!.

It’s only water, comes out of the sky for nothing, now we have pay for it. HA HA

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael

Don’t remember too much coming out of the sky during the drought of the last few years, especially in outback Queensland. And yes Michael someone has to pay, for the pumps, plumbing etc etc.

Thieving any thing is a crime. If you don’t own it and take it it is thieving, and it puts a bad look on all those who do the right thing. Try asking and you may be surprised that some locals are willing to help you out Michael. It is a known fact in the real world that some one always has to pay for the tanks, plumbing and pumps when setting up these water catchment points.

Water has to be paid for by someone I bet you keep yourself supplied with your beer etc

Ever heard of drought Michael.

I guess if you decidedly charge $1 per 10 litres (Possibly the dearest in the Country) then issues will continue to occur locally and a clear example of negative behaviour towards tourism generally. To highlight the point, Ceduna who I suspect has very similar water issues only charges a $1 for 150l fill.

So if you don’t want to pay $1 for 10 litres, go to the local store and pay $9.50 for the same amount.
I’m sure you would be as peed off if someone came and took it from your tap

When we were there a couple of years ago it was $1 for 100 litres so they have changed it a bit!!! we happily paid our $6 for 600 L – only time we have had to pay for water in our travels . Mind you so many people pulling up whilst we used the dump point who were gobsmacked at having to pay for water so they were taking containers into the public conveniences there and filling up there instead. – Wouldn’t bother me to pay for water and we only fill in towns on town water.

I’m a Grey Nomad, I’m “entitled” to everything for nothing – just ask me. You know their mantra ” the Government needs to do more for us”….

We’re newly minted nomads and are pretty careful with water, at a pub freecamp last night I watched a lady with a couple of kids fill her water tanks, having not paid for water or power. It was available, but the cost was 20. She wasn’t hard up for a buck, and the pub provided a great hot shower and plenty of outback hospitality. A bit of a shame, bad example for the kids and reinforces a negative perception of nomads – and she wasn’t one!

When can you fill your tanks? Certainly not from tanks at an outback town – obviously a shortage.
But I see no problem with places on town water where there are no shortages.
I go by the assumption, that if I fill in one town, townies from that town will reciprocate by filling in my town, as they have always done.

The courteous and right thing to do is to firstly ask for permission. By visiting a local shire office or tourist information there is every likelihood they will direct you to a tap. I have done this a few times and managed to get water.

If we are desperate we ask at tourist information centre

Poor management by Council. Plenty of Councils have filling stations but not 10c a litre At Denman 2328 fresh water fill station water purchase is by credit card and costs $3.37/1000L of potable water that complies with Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

So they pay the $3.37 and can only take 100 litres and the meter times out. That is not much better than 10 cents per litre.

Tony – the previous note stated $3.37 for 1000 litres – cheap I would suggest.

Self entitled dimwits always spoil it for everyone just as they leave rubbish everywhere never berry there human waste strew toilet paper everywhere like 2 year old kids never take responsibility for their actions

When you had or have a house you’d pay for water. Frankly I believe that there should be water filling stations in every town. Charge a decent price for water as it is a scarce resource in Australia, specially in county towns and the outback. I would have no problem with this system and believe it is the right thing to do

you would have to desperate to pay $1/10L for crappy SA water

$1 per 10 litres sounds reasonable to me. Water is precious (some places especially so). If we pay for it, we will use it “mindfully”.

Subject is often raised on various Facebook group discussions and there is a significant proportion of RV ers who carry the antivandal tap keys and consider it is their right to use them to steal water whenever and wherever it suits them. Not sure why they need to because there are plenty of taps made available all across the country for travellers to get water, the vast majority at no cost.

Typical attitude of SA locals; happy to take our money in shops, pubs, Servo’s and overpriced Caravan Parks – but 10 cents a litre for water is a rip off!

You do realise most of the eyre and Yorke peninsula have water shortages. The installation of water desalination plants does affect the sea life as well . Bet you can afford to buy your beer by the box

I don’t think so

Recently visited a beautiful little town in QLD called Rubyvale. I understand there is a water fill point there that costs $10 to fill a 1000L water pod Very reasonable I thought.

When we passed through Streaky Bay we filled up at the dump point and the water tap which we paid for it and I thought that was pretty fair also not too expensive.
However as a point Streaky Bay needs to look at putting in another caravan park. We stayed in the RV park where there must have been more than 100 vans the dust was rather horrendous.

Why another CP there is two there already

You do know about islands caravan park 7klm out of town. It’s amazing beautiful bathrooms wide sites etc. we’ve stayed there twice in the las few months as well as the rv and foreshore caravan park. Islands is the best we’ve stayed in in 6 years on the road

Quick solution; Make and place signage, at the tank site, in mauve stating “recycled water”, not suitable for consumption !!! The locals will know the truth and react accordingly.

I’m happy to buy water at a filling station, but $1 a litre is a rip-off!

It’s $1 for 10 litres

Maybe Councils could provide watering point in the same location as dump points. And domestic water is generally charged at around $1.00 per kilo litre so $9.00 for 10 litres sounds like a reason theft is becoming more prominent

We are Grey Nomads and ex farmers who lost their property during the drought and the bank foreclosed on us but the problems were we had to pay large amounts of money for irrigation and tank water that never was given to us. I’m sorry to say that it’s also the polite thing to ask where you can fill up with water.

A dollar for 10 litres you’ve got to be kidding . The average price for town water is around 2 dollars for a kilolitre. These councils are making a killing

So do all the shops selling bottled water, only at a far higher rate.

Drinking water is definately difficult to find. I have no problem paying for it if communities don’t see value in providing it free.

I do object to being driven into caravan parks because all other water sources have been removed.

Some towns advertise themselves as RV friendly but do not provide the facilities they are supposed to under the scheme. Potable water is one of the requirements as it a free or low cost 24 or 48 hour camping area.

Perhaps you should have reminded Elliston that they advertise that they are an RV friendly town, if they don’t want to provide the minimum services then they should withdraw from the scheme and take down their signs so travellers can decide if they want to spend money in the area.,our%20area%20has%20to%20offer.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brad Kark

We recently stayed at streaky bay and we’re happy to fill our tanks from the paid water supply near the dump point. We’re age pensioners and are always happy to pay for water or a campsite and have been repeatedly doing so. More towns need to have these water filling stations. Come on if you can afford to buy beer you can afford to pay for your water. Not all of us are out to sponge off communities. And we are always happy to spend money in these communities for our groceries chemist etc etc.

Why do you assume everyone can afford to buy beer?

Passed through Elliston back in late February wanting to fill and dump. The only place in the town being tourist information and both were out of order. If they had been working water would have been $7 for 1 – 500 litres, and to dump a sign referred us to a commercial caravan park where we could dump for $10. Just got to pay it when things are in short supply.

Water is essential and precious, particularly in areas of unreliable rainfall. I am amazed at the complaints of having to “pay too much” for drinking water.
Look how much people pay for bottled water which just comes out of a tap anyway.!!!!
Thieving is not acceptable !!!!

We will ALWAYS ask about water rather than just take it. There is a cost in everything we have and WATER is no different. Do the right thing ASK or OFFER to PAY.

We fill our tanks if needed when we stay at a caravan park we also buy 10ltr containers of water from the local shops, I think some travellers should try the same thing.

If councils wish to invite tourists into their town then providing the essential services should be a given! Sign posts and on WikiCamps to show visitors where those facilities are available!

A big thumbs up for the Collie WA visitors centre … only want a gold coin donation to fill your tanks .. Always happy to spend money in their town.

No, never pilfered peoples precious water supply. And I feel ashamed to read other campers/ caravaners do.
I personally buy a 10 litre container purely for drinking (don’t trust my tank water supply) get the one in a cardboard box around $8. Lasts ages.
My own 65lt. tank supplies water for washing up (in a long ex- shop ice cream container.) a flannel wash down in little hot water in bowl (only when my dog refuses to sit by me!) or book into cheaper show grounds for night, shower, power dump point & water if needed, hardly ever do. Then always use laundrymats.
I know the places I can BUY water in country towns. Normally couple of dollars will fill my tank. Why people should creep around doing the wrong thing for couple of dollars? Some don’t even bother creeping around and feel it’s their right to take water?
Perhaps more towns should invest in these water metres if able. And maybe some campers/caravaners should stop behaving like they are at home with a constant water supply at hand.


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