Cryptomelane type manganese dioxides (α-MnO2, OMS-2) are interesting potential cathode materials due to the ability of their one dimensional (1D) tunnels to reversibly host various cations including Li+ and an accessible stable 3+/4+ redox couple. Here, we synthesized metal cation free OMS-2 materials where the tunnels were occupied by only water and hydronium ions. Water was subsequently removed from the tunnels. Cation free OMS-2 and Dry-OMS-2 were used as cathodes in Li based batteries to investigate the role of tunnel water on their electrochemistry. The initial discharge capacity was higher for Dry-OMS-2 (252 mAh/g) compared to OMS-2 (194 mAh/g), however, after 100 cycles Dry-OMS-2 and OMS-2 delivered 137 mAh/g and 134 mAh/g, respectively. Li+ ion diffusion was more facile for Dry-OMS as evidenced by rate capability, at 400 mA/g. Dry-OMS-2 delivered 135mAh/g whereas OMS-2 delivered ∼115 mAh/g. This first report of the impact of tunnel water on the electrochemistry of OMS-2 type materials demonstrates that the presence of tunnel water in OMS-2 type materials negatively impacts the electrochemistry.