How can you be sure your water is safe to drink?In a survival situation, it is always safest to assume water is carry pathogens and contaminants. Below are some contaminants that might be in your water:
- Bacteria, like E. coli, Vibrio cholera, Salmonella typhi or Salmonella protozoa.
- Microsporidia, like Giardia, Amoebae, Ciliates and Cryptosporidium.
- Helminth zoonoses, like hookworms, liver flukes, nematodes or pinworms.
- Human and animal waste, including fecal matter and carcasses.
- Chemical pollution, from both industrial wastes and natural erosion increasing mineral concentrations.
What are good sources of water in an emergency?Dew, atmospheric distillation, water from puddles and clear tree sap all offer sources of water in survival situations. Snow, sleet and rain can be gathered in containers. Use tarps to expand your precipitation-collection area. Rivers, lakes and springs are obvious sources of water. You can also store bottled water. For a basic 72-hour survival kit, you need three gallons of drinking water and two gallons of sanitation water per person.
What can you do to make your water clean and safe?In a survival situation, it is always safest to assume water is carry pathogens and contaminants. Below are some contaminants that might be in your water:
- Boiling. An ancient and reliable method, boiling water keeps it above 185 degrees (the boiling point is 212 degrees) for the five minutes necessary to kill biological contaminants.
- Chemicals. Chlorine and iodine will sterilize water, however chemicals also affect the taste.
- Water softener. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium, but it can be softened through an ion exchange.
- Filters. Gravity and pump filters are available in a variety options including ceramic, silver impregnated carbon and multi-stage cartridge filters.
- Iron filter. Iron, manganese, sulfur, and pH levels vary from well to well. In-line filters work for most household systems, but a back-washing iron filter might be better for high levels of iron or iron bacteria.
- Survival straw. Small and lightweight, these carbon filters are used like a straw. You suck the water through the filter to drink.
- Reverse osmosis. The most effective water filters on the market use reverse osmosis. The process removes, basically, everything from water leaving it safe, pure and clean. RO filters are a great choice for your home, as they remove fluoride and hydrofluorosilicic acid.
- UV light. UV devices disrupt the DNA of pathogens quickly, but are only effective in clear water with no particulates.
- Distillation. If your only water is brackish or contaminated with heavy metals and radiation, distillation is your safest option. Heavy particles stay behind as the water becomes steam and then is recaptured as potable water.
Knowing and maintaining several water purification methods, treatments and equipment now will prepare you for emergency situations. It's a great idea to know how to find and purify life-giving water in any situation. Your survival could depend on it.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.