HOW TO PURIFY WATER

Water, Water Everywhere, Nor any Drop to Drink

The title above is a passage from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In an emergency survival situation, water should be one of the top priorities to begin foraging for. It is a key ingredient in the Rule of Threes; three minutes without oxygen, three hours without shelter, three days without water, and three weeks without food. You will need to find water, and plenty of it, before being concerned about food.

Natural Water

WHY IS WATER NECESSARY?

Water is necessary for survival. The average adult human body is 50-65% water. Infants and children have a slightly higher water content, somewhere in the neighborhood of 75%. This is an important factor; our bodies require that much water to remain healthy and hydrated. Being healthy and hydrated increases our chances of surviving. As we conduct daily chores and tasks our bodies dehydrate. In a survival situation it will be imperative to replace all the water our bodies lose, as quickly as possible.

Water is necessary for several other aspects of our daily life. We need water for cooking, cleaning, and personal hygiene; all of which will be instrumental in keeping us alive, especially in a survival environment. That being said, not all water sources are safe to drink from. In fact, all unfamiliar water sources should be considered un-trusted. This means that any water harvested from them should be filtered and purified before it is considered safe for human consumption.

HOW TO IDENTIFY WATERBORNE THREATS THAT CAN KILL YOU

Water borne illnesses and diseases are not as commonplace in the United States as they are in countries with less development and infrastructure, but they are present and possible. These illnesses and diseases occur as the direct result of drinking from contaminated water sources. Any water source can contain the microorganisms and pathogens that allow water borne hazards to flourish. While there are several water borne hazards to be aware of, they all fall under one of three categories; bacterial, viral, or protozoal.

When water from a contaminated source is consumed, the bacteria, virus, or pathogenic protozoa are passed onto, and into, the person drinking from that source. For the most part, consuming the microorganisms responsible for water borne diseases, results in symptoms that are not pleasant to contend with, such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, fever, chills, headache, and abdominal pain. The majority of these symptoms are easy to treat when medical treatment is readily available. Having said that, it is possible for the consumption of contaminated water to result in death!

 Key Health Problems

WATERBORNE THREATS YOU NEED TO BE CONCERNED WITH

On average an estimated 22-23 outbreaks of water borne threats occur annually here in the United States. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) these outbreaks result in somewhere between 4,500-9,500 people getting sick each and every year. Of those adversely effected with a water borne illness, approximately 6 of them perish annually as a result of ingesting water contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms.

  • Amebiasis—
    • Symptoms—abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fatigue, flatulence, weight loss
  • Campylobacteriosis—
    • Symptoms—abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting
  • Cholera—
    • Symptoms—dehydration, diarrhea, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting
  • Cryptosporidiosis—
    • Symptoms—abdominal cramps, dehydration, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting
  • Giardiasis—
    • Symptoms-– abdominal cramps, dehydration, diarrhea, flatulence, nausea
  • Hepatitis—bacteria, protozoa, virus.
    • Symptoms—abdominal cramps, bad breath, fatigue, fever, jaundice, nausea, vomiting
  • Shigellosis—
    • Symptoms—abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting
  • Typhoid Fever—
    • Symptoms—abdominal cramps, constipation, diarrhea, headache, fever, loss of appetite

While this list details all of the possible water borne threats that are presently known to exist within the United States, it should be noted that certain threats are more prevalent and common than others. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, cholera and typhoid fever were the most prominent and problematic water borne threats to deal with. However, in the last several decades those two threats have decreased drastically.

In the current day, cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis are the two most common and prevalent water borne threats here in the United States. These two illnesses are further troublesome in that they are cold water capable, which means they possess the ability to survive in frigid temperatures. They are also more resistant to some of the more conventional treatments currently being used, and require a significantly lower dose than other threats when consumed.

Cryptosporidium

             Giardia                                               

 

HOW TO PROPERLY FILTER & PURIFY WATER

While there are several helpful hints and tips on how to prevent drinking water that has been contaminated with water borne threats, the best advice available is this; never assume a water source is safe, regardless of where it comes from. Tap water, although subject to meeting EPA standards, can become contaminated with pathogenic microorganisms, as well as manmade pollutants, in the blink of an eye. Water clarity is not a sufficient test for determining water is safe to drink. The only true way to ensure that the water you are consuming is void of water borne threats in the form of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa is to run it through a filter, and/or a purifier.

There is a difference between filtering and purifying water. The process of filtering water involves using methods to remove all of the visible contaminants within the water itself; soil, leaves and insects. The process of purifying water involves using methods which are capable of removing all of the invisible contaminants within the water, such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Water that has been filtered may look safe to drink, yet still contain harmful elements and germs. Water that has been filtered, and then properly purified, is considered safe to drink.

WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO FILTER WATER?

There are a number of DIY options that fall under the filtering category. Some of the simplest and easiest ways to filter water involve running the liquid through a material capable of trapping the large visible contaminants. A cloth towel, shirt, bandana, handkerchief, and even an old sock, are all suitable materials to use as filters. Remember, this type of filtering does not result in potable water; It is just the first step in the process of making water drinkable.

A more industrious DIY water filter can be fabricated using a water storage device, such as an empty 2 Liter Bottle, several layers of cloth, charcoal, gravel and sand, as demonstrated in the image below. It is recommended that you place a piece of cloth between each of these layers, if possible. This will keep the materials separate and allow them to work better during the filtering process.

Water Filter

The cap end of the bottle now serves as the bottom. This cap should have a small hole drilled in the center to allow the water to drain once it has been filtered. To use this type of system, simply pour the contaminated water into the top, slowly as it will puddle until it begins to work through the filter. You will also need to arrange for a catchment of some sort to capture and contain the filtered water. Bear in mind that this is still not considered potable water as it has only been filtered, not purified.

Aside from those DIY options for filtration, there are a wide variety of personal water filtration products on the market, as well as some heavy duty family water filtration products.

Life Straw

LifeStraw makes several water filters for personal use as well as family use.

Sawyer Water Filter

Sawyer also makes a wide assortment of water filtration devices to choose from.

Katadyn

Katadyn Water Filters come in all shapes and sizes to meet your needs.

Frontier

Frontier has several personal water filtration devices to choose from.

Berkey

Berkey has family size water filters that will fit your needs.

Camelbak

Camelbak also manufacturers a number of water filters to choose from.

WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO PURIFY WATER?

Like filtering options, there are also a number of purification possibilities to consider using, and/or purchasing. Purification ensures that the water is suitable for consumption. While filtering removes the heavy visible objects found in the water, purifying removes the invisible particles that filtering misses.

  • Boiling is the best known, and most recommended, procedure for purifying water. Even in developed countries, boiling water is advised when a water crisis occurs involving an entire community. Recommended boiling times vary depending on the elevation of the contaminated water source and the adversely affected area. Boiling the water raises the temperature to such a degree that microorganisms are unable to survive. This method will not remove heavy metals, manmade chemicals and salts.

Boiling Water

  • Pasteurizing water is also a method of ensuring it is safe to drink. Similar to boiling, pasteurization calls for the water temperature to be slowly and steadily raised to 149°F for a period of one minute. This reduces the amount of energy required to make the water safe, yet it requires a thermometer to perform correctly, which is why most people opt for the simpler, and more visible method of boiling the water. Like boiling, pasteurization is also incapable of removing heavy metals, manmade chemicals and salts.
  • Chemicals are another purification possibility. While this method will work, it should not be used for extended periods of time, no longer than 3 months, less if at all possible. While most people prefer not to use chemicals to make water potable, there may be times where other options are not readily available, or possible, depending on the circumstances.
  • Bleach can be used to purify water. The bleach must be fresh and unscented. Add 1/8th teaspoon per gallon of water, shake the container vigorously to ensure proper mixing of the bleach and water, allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before testing. To test the water, smell it. It should still retain the odor of chlorine after 30 minutes. If you cannot readily identify the scent of chlorine after 30 minutes, repeat the process and test again.

Bleach

    • Iodine can also be used to purify water. This method should not be used by pregnant women, or individuals with thyroid conditions. Iodine is available in tablets, as well as crystalline and liquid forms. Long term use of iodine is not recommended. Always follow the instructions on the bottle. If using 2% liquid form iodine, place five drops into each quart of water and let stand for a period of one hour before consuming. If the water is cloudy, double the dose to 10 drops and allow to sit for at least an hour before drinking.

Iodine

  • Water Purification Tablets are available from a couple of manufacturers. These products are generally sold packaged in bottles. Always follow the recommended instructions provided by the manufacturer both for use with water, as well as for storing additional unused tablets.

Potable Aqua Tablets

  • SODIS is an acronym for Solar Disinfection. This method utilizes clear plastic bottle which have been washed thoroughly. Fill the washed clear plastic bottle with water that has been previously filtered. Replace the cap tightly and place the clear plastic bottle in direct sunlight for a period of at least 12 hours. Once completed, the water will be suitable for consumption.

SODIS1

  • Distillation, when possible, can be used with almost any source of water. There are a number of ways to create distillation devices, which will be covered in a separate section of this article. This process uses heat with water to create steam. The steam travels along a conduit where it collects, condenses, and drips into a clean storage container. This method can also be used to produce drinkable water from salt water sources.

HOW MUCH WATER DO WE USE ON A DAILY BASIS?

We need water for quite a few of our daily tasks. Here in the United States a vast majority of citizens take water for granted. We seldom consider how much water we use on a daily basis, because for the most part, it is readily available at the nearest faucet or tap. Surprisingly, statistics indicate that a traditional family of four, living in the United States, uses approximately 400 gallons of water per day; where is all of that water going? The following is a list of the things we generally use water for on a daily basis.

  • Bathing is normally a daily activity for most people living in the United States. Regardless of how we perform this task, it uses an abundance of water. Filling a standard tub uses roughly 36 gallons of water. Taking a shower, using a modern showerhead, uses between 2-2.5 gallons of water per minute.
  • Personal Hygiene includes brushing teeth, shaving, and washing the hands and face. Usage rates vary; however, on average, people use one gallon of water for each of those activities, most of which is wasted by leaving the faucet running.
  • Dish Washing uses a good bit of water. If done by hand, this activity averages between 8-27 gallons of water. When done in a dishwasher, this activity averages between 6-16 gallons of water.
  • Laundry, although not necessarily a daily activity, consumes around 25 gallons per load of laundry on the day(s) this task is tackled.
  • Bodily Waste requires the use of a toilet. Each flush of the toilet uses between 1.5-3 gallons of water.
  • Personal Consumption on average amounts to 64oz. Recommendations often indicate the need for consuming 8 glasses of water a day, each glass consisting of 8 ounces, for a total of 64 oz.
  • Cooking may also require the use of water, and the average use amount varies depending on what is being prepared, as well as the method used to prepare it.
  • Pets require water as well, and usage amounts depend on how many you have, what size they are, how old they are, and how active they are.
  • Gardening also consumes a vast amount of water, even if all it entails is watering the grass on the lawn.

HOW TO PLAN YOUR DAILY WATER RATIONING SO YOU DO NOT DIE

The amounts provided above are indicative of the wasteful practices utilized by humans who live in an industrialized country. These amounts are not indicative of the minimum daily requirements the human body needs in order to survive.

In a serious, real world survival situation in which resources such as water are at a minimum, the basic recommended requirements consist of having one gallon of water per person, per day. Of this measurement, ½ gallon should be reserved for consumption, the other ½ gallon used for such things as cooking, and nominal personal hygiene habits. It should be noted that the human body can survive for a period of 72 hours without water. It is not recommended that this time limit be practiced for any purpose other than to survive an emergency situation.

As part of prepping, it is imperative to have a water safety plan in place. SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) in the survival community, and reinforced by government agencies, recommend using the one gallon per person, per day equation to determine the amount of potable water to store for a 72-hour emergency period. For example; if you have a family of four, you will need to have 12 gallons of water properly stored in order to survive the initial phases of a disaster. Without the proper water requirements dehydration can occur, which can ultimately result in death!

WHAT ARE THE OTHER WAYS THAT WATER CAN KILL YOU?

What causes water loss? At a bare minimum an individual should consume no less than ½ a gallon of water per day, and that is under normal conditions. Adverse conditions and/or illness/injury may cause an increase in water consumption. Exposure to the elements normally increases water intake to replenish moisture lost in the process of perspiration. Exposure to heat and high temperatures increases the potential of water loss through sweating. Depending on the circumstances you can lose up to ¾ of a gallon per hour. Exposure to colder climates causes one to experience water loss as the frigid air breathed in evaporates moisture from the lungs. Exposure to high altitudes causes the same type of water loss as breathing in cold air, as air at higher altitudes is colder and thinner. The thinner quality of the air also increases evaporation from the body as the lungs work harder to breathe it.

Exercise will increase the body’s loss of water as well by increasing respiratory rates and perspiration amounts. Coming down with an illness can also increase the body’s inability to retain water. Individuals who are sick enough to experience vomiting and diarrhea are normally expelling more water than they are taking in, which increase the odds of dehydration setting in. Any individuals suffering from charred or burnt flesh may also experience an increase in water loss from the body. The skin is the outer protective shell of our bodies. One of its primary functions is to act as a barrier against water loss. It cannot perform this function correctly when burned.

HeatExhaustion

HOW TO REDUCE WATER LOSS

As water is such an essential part of life, there are steps we must take during a disaster/survival situation in order to reduce the amount of water our bodies lose. The first order of business in this category involves reduction of physical activity. The more you exert yourself, the less energy reserves you will have and the more moisture content you will expire. Regardless of what tasks you are trying to achieve, do them as slowly and methodically as possible, reduce the urge to rush through everything. During the day, which is peak time for strenuous activities, ensure you schedule plenty of rest breaks, even if you do not feel as though you need one, take it anyway; force yourself if you must. If you happen to be in high temperature climates with arid conditions, reserve strenuous activities for early morning and early evening, resisting the urge to work through the hottest part of the day. During that period, you should seek shelter from the sun and rest as much as possible.

Wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions. Quite often people errantly succumb to the temptation of removing clothing when the temperatures rise. Keep your clothes on. The sweat that collects on the clothing helps cool the air trapped between the skin and clothing. This signals the sweat glands to reduce secretion and helps prevent water loss. While we are on the subject of clothing as it pertains to water retention, when in warmer climates wear lighter colored clothes, white being the best option. Lighter colors reflect sunlight away from the body, which in turn keeps the body’s temperature regulated and helps prevent overheating. The opposite applies to cold weather climates. In these areas you should focus on wearing darker colors if possible as this will absorb what warmth from the sun is available and help maintain a warmer core body temperature.

Smoking and alcohol consumption also increase water loss from the human body. Smoking increases thirst which doesn’t necessarily increase water loss, but does increase water consumption. Alcohol uses water in the body to assist in the breakdown of the chemicals contained in it.

When you are resting, do so in the shade, and off of warm surfaces. If your body sweats, let it sweat.  Perspiration is your body’s natural defense against overheating. The moisture excreted is intended to cool the skin- the outer shell, and provide some relief from the heat. Breathe through your nose and keep your mouth closed as much as possible. The oral cavity is a moist one and when we breathe through it, or even talk with it, we expel a great deal of moisture. Speak only when you must, and remain quiet otherwise.

Reducing the consumption of food will also help you retain necessary water levels within the body. Food requires a significant amount of water to assist the body with the breakdown process.

HOW TO IDENTIFY SYMPTOMS OF DEHYDRATION & TREAT THEM PROPERLY

This is a very serious, and potentially lethal, condition to experience. It is important that you know what the symptoms of dehydration are so that if you see them in others you will be able to identify them early on and prevent them from getting worse. You may recognize early symptoms of dehydration within yourself, however, if you do not address them immediately, you may not recognize them at later stages, which in all likelihood will result in your untimely demise.

Symptoms of dehydration are; thirst, loss of appetite, impatience, lethargic, dizziness, sleepiness, emotionally unstable, slurred or incoherent speech patterns, mental incoherence and ultimately death.

Treating dehydration is fairly cut and dry, yet it can also be a complex condition to overcome depending on circumstances. The solution for dehydration is liquid replacement. You must replenish the fluids the body has lost. The easiest way to accomplish this is through drinking it. If you consume potable fresh water as instructed above, at the rate of ½ a gallon per person, per day, you will greatly reduce the potential of experiencing the harrowing effects of dehydration firsthand.

WHERE CAN WATER BE FOUND DURING A CRISIS?

Water can quite literally be found almost everywhere. Quite often the problem is accessing it. The Earth is covered in underground aquifers that absorb rainfall and hold moisture for plants, as well as animals. Unlike above ground bodies of water, aquifers remain unknown to many people simply because they are not visible.

Some of the obvious answers include creeks, streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, swamps, and oceans. Each of these represents a different natural water system. Each of these also represents a variety of methods to endure in order to purify, and/or filter. Where you get your water from, is therefore extremely important. All of the options listed here are found in the wilderness.

Sources of Water

Identifying contaminated water sources will reduce the potential of contracting a deadly virus or disease. As a matter of course, collect water from the cleanest drinking sources first, and even then only from the ones you have a reasonable chance of purifying and/or filtering. Running water is always preferred over stagnant water. Any source of water that produces a foul smell, or that has excessive bubbles and/or foam, should be avoided. This is not to be confused with whitewater created by rapids within a healthy river system. Discolored water, even if running in a river, should also be avoided. If healthy vegetation is scarce, or non-existent, then avoid using the water system.

Polluted Water

However, there is an abundance of water in metropolitan and suburban areas that often gets overlooked. Granted, some of these should be considered as a last resort option, but they are available if you happen to experience a disaster/survival situation in one of these areas. Rooftop tanks can still be found and utilized as a water source if needed.

Rooftop Wate4r

Water heaters or toilet tanks that you have installed and have not used any toilet bowl cleaning products in can also be used as a source of water. If the toilet tank has been used by previous tenants, or has ever had a cleaning product introduced to it, then the water is considered non-potable and untreatable.

Water Heater

Toilet Tank

Fire hydrants provide a hidden access to urban water reserves, provided you have the right tool, which would be a hydrant wrench, or a set of industrial strength channel locks.

Hydrant Wrench

Sillcock hydrants can also be found on a majority of new buildings in metropolitan and some suburban areas. These require a special key to access, but can also be a source of water in a survival situation.

Sillcock Hydrant

Sillcock Key

HOW TO LOCATE WATER WHEN LOST IN THE WILDERNESS

Since this is where water is the hardest to locate, especially in a disaster situation, we will focus on finding water resources in the wilderness. Here are a few basic rules to assist you in locating a source of water in the wilderness.

  • Gravity is your friend when searching for water. As water is a liquid, it is susceptible to gravity and will travel down the path of least resistance. This means that you will have a better chance of looking for water in valleys and depressions, than on mountain tops and hills.
  • Healthy vegetation is also a good sign that there is a suitable water source nearby. Healthy vegetation requires an enormous amount of water, especially if there is an abundance of growth.
  • Animals, insects and birds can also lead you to water. These are all living creatures that require water to survive. Many of them do not travel very far from a known and trusted water source. Bear in mind that just because wild animals aren’t purifying and filtering the water, doesn’t mean you can get away with plunging right in. If the animals are not sick and dying from the water, that is a good sign, it means there is a chance you can purify it and filter it to make it safe to drink. If there is any sign of animal or fish decomposition in the water, do NOT use it for anything.
  • Game trails are also a good indicator that water is in the vicinity. Game trails normally lead from bedding areas to feeding locations and watering locations. The watering location will be downhill, whereas the feeding and bedding locations are likely to be higher up. Animals are wise to nature and its ability to flood low lying areas, especially where water already exists.
  • Dried river beds may also be a source of water. The general philosophy suggests digging in the outer turns of the river bed, and in the deepest spots. This is where surface water last evaporated from and should be the best spot to locate underground reserves, if any are to be found.

5 WAYS TO PRODUCE WATER WHERE THERE ISN’T ANY

How to Collect & Contain Rainwater

Build a rain trap out of natural elements, such as a few sticks and a large piece of foliage, such as an elephant ear plant. You can prop the sticks together to create a platform for the large leaf to sit on. Here it can collect water and be redirected into a catch container. If elephant ear leaves are unavailable, use a sheet of plastic from your GO bag. You can string it between trees and use it to collect rainfall, which you can then redirect to a catch container. Using a large piece of plastic, or tarp type material, will provide you with an ample supply of water in a short period of time. Make sure you have suitable containers for storing what you do collect.

Rainfall can also be collected in cloth material, such as shirts, socks, etc. These should be new, unwashed and untreated cloth objects if possible. Drape them in areas where they will become saturated with rainwater and then collect them and drain them into a container by wringing them out. You can also wrap the cloth objects around tree branches and allow them to filter the rainwater for you as they collect it. The rainwater will collect on the cloth and with the help of gravity it will follow the cloth and drip into any container located at the bottom end of the cloth, which is left dangling slightly from the lowest point on the branch.

Your cooking equipment, as well as your mess kit, may also come in handy for collecting rainwater. They can be strategically situated to collect rainwater during a downpour, after which they can be collected and transferred to a storage device. If you are going to be collecting large quantities of water, then dig yourself a reservoir and line it with plastic. This should only be considered in events that require long term solutions and shortages of supply.

How to Manufacture Moisture in the Wilderness

In addition to being able to locate water in the wilderness and having the ability to collect rainwater in a variety of ways, it is also possible to manufacture water in the wilderness where you probably didn’t realize any water existed. One of the oldest tricks in the survival handbook is the collection of early morning dew. You can perform this little trick by getting out of bed early enough and walking through tall healthy vegetation with cotton clothes on. If the vegetation is not of the tall variety, then use the cotton based clothes to absorb the moisture by spreading them out on the shorter grasses and patting them into the ground with a firm hand. Once the cotton clothes become saturated with moisture wring them out into an appropriate catch container, or water storage receptacle. This may take a little time and effort to do, but when nothing else is available, it will do the trick. Repeat the steps of collecting dew and draining from the cloth until you have an adequate supply to get you through the day.

Making Moisture

What Can a Solar Still do for you?

This is another tried and true method of manufacturing water in the wilderness. This process involves using a plastic piece of sheeting and a hole dug into the ground. Be mindful of the fact that employing this technique will only provide small quantities of water, but it may be just enough to get you through a few miserable days until a better source of water can be found. These are very easy to make. Dig a hole on level ground that is roughly 3’ in diameter and about 2’ deep. Place a container in the center of the hole. Cover hole with plastic sheeting and secure with soil to anchor to the ground. Place a small stone in the center of the plastic sheet. This should be performed in a sunny location, and it wouldn’t hurt to place a few branches of fresh vegetation in there as well, just make sure they do not come into contact with the plastic, or the catch container. Check the still daily and remove water received.

Solar Water Still

Do You Have Time to Tie a Transpiration Bag?

This is very similar in concept to a solar still. Instead of digging a hole in a sunny location, you simply tie a clear plastic bag over a branch of fresh, healthy vegetation. Check the bag periodically and remove moisture content. All healthy green plants transpire on a daily basis, use this knowledge to your advantage.

Transpiration Bag

How Can a Saltwater Still Save Your Life?

If you are near an ocean, or the disaster involves being stranded on an island, you can create a saltwater still to purify ocean water and make it suitable for drinking. Since you are unlikely to have all of the necessary equipment to construct an industrious version of the saltwater still, we are going to share a very basic, backwoods variety of one here. Fill a large metal pot with water and place it above a fire, preferably on a tripod, or something that will keep it slightly out of contact with the flames. Bring the saltwater to a boil and drape a piece of cotton cloth over the opening of the pot. As the saltwater boils the steam will rise into the cloth where it can be collected and drained. When the cloth is saturated remove it, wring it out into a container, and replace over the pot. Repeat as many times as necessary. You can also fashion a salt water still to resemble a modified solar still as depicted in the image below.

Saltwater Still

WHAT ARE THE EASIEST WAYS TO STORE WATER?

How to Store Water Around the House

There are a couple of ways to store water. In an emergency situation in which bugging in at the traditional homestead is the sheltering option chosen, how water is transported and stored will be determined by the location of the closest source. There are several areas in the home that may hold usable water for emergency situations. Toilet tanks, hot water heaters, and waterbeds come immediately to mind. It is also possible to arrange 30-55 gallon drums strategically and fill them with water while the service is still running. When using this method to store, ensure the plastic drums are food grade.

Water Drums

Large water storage devices such as the WaterBob can also be used to store an abundance of water when needed.

water-bob-2

For slightly smaller operations, there are such products as the Water Bricks. These plastic storage containers are food grade and BPA (bisphenol A) free.

Water Brick

There are also collapsible water containers, which average 5 gallon capacities, available from a number of sources. While these devices will store a sizeable amount of water when full, they do not stack very easily and may cause clutter.

WHICH METHOD OF STORING WATER WORKS BEST IN THE WILDERNESS?

Here is where the survival gear comes in to play. Individual water storage units should already be in the GO bag, which you should have with you. Individual water storage units include water bottles, canteens, camelback type equipment, and/or a thermos. In addition to these things you should have some method of purifying the water; boiling is highly recommended and preferred, but not always possible. Make sure you have water purification tablets on hand, as well as some form of personal water filtration device; LifeStraw, and/or a Sawyer mini water filtration system. If the situation you are in calls for sheltering in place until rescue arrives, you may want to consider setting up camp slightly uphill from the first fresh water source you locate. Because of the limited amount of gear, you will have at your disposal, it will be best to purify/filter at the source, rather than trying to transport the water and then process it accordingly.

Water is absolutely vital to our survival.  Being able to collect and filter/purify water is an essential skill that everyone should have in their bank of survival knowledge.  Water is one of our most important resources, and having the knowledge to collect and clean water will serve you well in a survival situation.

Waterfall