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Managing Water in an RV

If you are like me, you sometimes feel a little guilty when you leave the water running while you brush your teeth. You may even scold yourself for wasting water when you stay in the hot shower for a few extra few minutes after you've finished washing your hair. But, you continue to do these things because in a home or an apartment, it seems like you have an unlimited supply of water as long as you are willing to pay for it.

BUT, these bad habits will need to stop if you are going to be living full-time in an RV, especially if you are going to try and control your costs by dry camping in state and federal forest lands or on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands.  RV living means that you have to think about where your water comes from and how you can make it last the longest.

Water Sources

So, how will you get the water you need to drink, cook, clean dishes, take showers, use the toilet and all of the other things you do that require water?

Well, here are a few ways you can get fresh water:

  • Water hook-ups at campgrounds
  • Water faucets in campgrounds or at ranger stations
  • Public restrooms and showers at campgrounds or public parks
  • Fresh water tank on your RV that you filled up 
  • Drinking water jugs you buy at the store

Managing Waste Water

But beware. Before you think about stockpiling extra barrels of water on your RV, you need to know that it's not just about having enough fresh water with you when you are dry camping or boondocking; it is also about how you manage the "waste water" you produce. 

Waste water from showers and sinks is called grey water. Usually there is only dirt and soap mixed into this water. The water from your toilet is called black water. Both of these "waste waters" are stored in tanks and you have to manage how much you put in the tanks when you are not hooked up to a campground sewer.  When these tanks are full, you have to find a dump station to empty them before you can start putting more water down your drains.