Ever sipped tap water in a foreign country and had to live on the toilet for the next three days?
Clean water should be your most important concern in any survival situation.
You can survive thirty days without any food, being shot and even contracting a dangerous disease like Ebola you have a slim chance to survive.
But without water? All you’ve got is 72 hours and you’re dead. Like certainly dead.
Even worse you not only need water but you’ll also need enough of it. While half a litre a day will keep you alive you’ll also experience troublesome side effects like headaches, dizziness, rapid heartbeat and breathing and – in the worst cases – hallucinations and delirium.
The good news is that water is literally anywhere. Rivers, lakes, oceans, your toilet bowl. Heck 71% of the earths surface is covered in water!
On the other side you can drink almost none of that directly. There was a time when men could quench his thirst straight from the river. But pollution, large scale farming and the destruction of aquatic ecosystems has made almost any water source undrinkable without prior water treatment.
When the local water treatment plant fails or you find yourself without ready access to bottled water, what will you do? Wing it, drink whatever you can find?
Drinking untreated water is a dumb idea:
- Bacteria and viruses that live in the water will make you sick. Symptoms range from diarrhea and fever to serious diseases like cholera, dysentery or salmonella.
- Tiny dirt particles can clog up your lungs and irritate your throat.
- Metal compounds leeched into the water from over-farming can cause life-threatening heavy metal poisoning.
- Toxic chemicals (commonly called “pollution”) can burn and rip up your organs from the inside out.
- Parasites that live in the water love to invade your digestive track and use it as a feeding and breeding ground. Some parasites can grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) inside you. They also lay eggs.
It doesn’t have to be. If you know how to purify water even the dirtiest water can be purified and made fit for consumption.
How you would purify your water depends on what tools you’ve brought and how contaminated your water source is.
Below are seven ways to make even the most disgusting puddle drinkable.
1) Boiling / Potting
2) Cloth Filtration
3) DIY Coal, Sand And Earth Filtration
5) Purification Pumps And LifeStraws
This is by far the safest way to obtain clean water from almost any source.
Purification pumps are professional versions of your DIY coal, sand and earth purifier that use high pressure mechanics and multiple layers of active coal and tiny nano-scale meshes to remove harmful substances and organisms from your water.
That sounds expensive because it is.
If you don’t want to sell your kidney to get a full scale purification pump you can buy a LifeStraw which is a miniature version of former.
Instead of extracting the water from your water source and pumping it into a container you just dip the straw-like device into the water and drink from it.
Similar to how you would drink soda with a straw.
While you suck the water through the straw it will be purified in a similar process to a purification pump.
Instead of filtering particles and organisms out of the water you reverse the process and filter the water out of everything else.
It’s easy: Add water to a pot and place an empty, smaller pot inside the bigger pot.
Next clamp a clean plastic sheet over both pots and weigh it down in the middle with a stone.
Bring the water to a boil and you’ll see how steam rises from the larger pot, condenses on the plastic sheet and clean water drops down into the smaller pot.
The more heat you supply the faster the water will evaporate.
You can make almost any water source completely safe by distilling it although the process takes a lot of time and energy and removes any minerals and trace elements from the water.
7) UV Purification / Solar Still
All you need for UV water purification is a transparent water bottle.
Filter your water trough cloth to remove large particles and dirt, pour the water into a transparent bottle and place it in a spot that gets hit directly by the sun. Make sure there is no air trapped in the bottle.
Now wait for at least twelve hours.
The ultra violet sun rays will kill bacteria and other organisms in your water over time.
This purification method isn’t very safe because you can’t tell for sure how long it’ll take until all micro organisms are dead.
It can take a very long time and if you live somewhere up North there might not be enough sunlight to complete the process at all.
If you like to tinker and have some spare time you can build a solar still similar to the purifier described in the distillation process, except that you use solar energy instead of heat from a fire to evaporate the water.
There you go, seven ways to purify water and make clean drinking water :-).