“Is your water ready to drink?”
Exploding Water Glass – Photo by Bruno Ticianelli
It’s that time, another issue of West Weekly, and more information for the masses.
One question I get asked often is how can I get water. Everyone knows you need water to survive, but the questions about water and how to get it constantly abound when talking about survival.
The first problem with water? It’s heavy. It’s hard to carry enough of it that you know is safe to drink, especially if you are on the move. Before we dive in I’ll start this issue with a product recommendation. We carry a small purification device that can save you most of the steps we will talk about today. The Portable Soldier Water Filter will help you get clean, pure, and better-tasting water from nearly any water source.
If you don’t have the luxury of an expensive portable water filter, then you have to consider methods to purify water. The first thing I’ll say is that you should always treat a water supply like it is contaminated. If you need to survive one thing you cannot afford is to be reeling in pain from an unknown bacterial infection.
We’ll jump right into the basics of purifying water.
First, you have to screen the water. This process removes large contaminants. It can be done quite easily with a piece of clothing. If you have something more advanced a coffee filter or strainer would do the job as well.
Next, you’ll need to let the water stand. This allows light contaminants to float to the top and sediments to sink to the bottom. If clean any floating objects off the top, you can then pour the water into another container and leave the sediments behind.
After letting it stand you’ll move into disinfectiontion. The easiest method here is heat. This is NOT distilling the water. Distilling removes trace nutrients from the water that your body uses, like sodium. That’s why you often find bottled water companies have added these items back in for taste. Bringing the water to a boil means killing bacteria, or at least of the nasty ones that will hurt your GI tract.
After boiling the water let it sit in the direct sunlight. UV Light will help to kill other living particles in the water that might have been resistant to the boiling. If you want to be doubly safe, let the water sit in the sun all day, and then boil it again.
One thing to know. This method will not help you with chemical or nuclear contamination. The stream that runs next to the chemical plant, or the reactor, probably not a great place to get your water from.
The last thing we will talk about is what types of water sources you should look for. First, running water is typically safer. Stagnant water is usually higher in bacteria, and has a higher risk of being contaminated. Look for the water in a stream, not in a lake. Another good option is looking for water from its source. A spring often has some of the purest water you can find, but for safety sake, never trust a water source is clean.
That’s it for today. Feel free if you have any great tips about water purity. Share your comments and suggestions, or even your questions, and we’ll see you next week!