In a post-SHTF world, you won’t survive a week without drinking water. That makes having clean water one of your first priorities. In fact, spending too much of your energy looking for food instead of water might get you killed.
To find out where your nearest source of water is, look to nature. Trees and other plants such as willows, sycamores, reeds, cattails, sedges and cordgrass like to grow near bodies of water. If you live in a desert region, search the landscape for areas with foliage. If you’re trying to survive in winter, you can drink fresh, melted snow. You can also collect rainwater.
The best natural source of water to find is clear, flowing water such as in rivers and streams. If possible, don’t collect from a stagnant source of water that isn’t connected to a flowing creek or river. However, you won’t always have a choice when SHTF, which is why knowing how to purify water is important. Here are seven ways you can purify water that you’ve collected outdoors. (h/t to PreparednessMama.com)
This is the simplest and easiest way to get clean, drinkable water. All you need is a fire and a pot. Boil the water steadily for at least 10 minutes to get the best results. The longer you boil the water, the more water evaporates, but you will also kill more bacteria in the process. If you’re located at an altitude that’s over one mile above sea level, you need to boil the water for longer.
The best way to make sure you get clean drinking water is to invest in a high-quality portable filter, preferably one that can fit in your bug-out bag.
Disinfecting tablets like chlorine tablets are excellent for emergency situations. However, you can’t just drop a chlorine tablet into your water. First, dissolve the chlorine tablet in a small cup of water. This will create a chlorine solution. Then, mix a small part of this solution into your drinking water (one part for every 100 parts) and let it sit for at least 35 minutes. The water you get may be unpleasant to taste, but it will be drinkable. For maximum cleanliness, boil the water before treating it with a chlorine solution. (Related: Water is life: 10 Ways to purify water when SHTF.)
DIY water bottle filter
In other emergency situations, you can craft your own water bottle filter with a plastic water bottle. First, place your shirt over the water bottle. Then, place a small pile of sand and soil on top of the cloth to act as your filter. Afterward, pour the water over this makeshift filter. Repeat this process until the water comes out clear. Note that this should only be done during extreme cases, as these filters cannot be trusted to work 100 percent of the time.
A survival straw is basically a straw that has a built-in filtration system. While a great tool, it should only be used when you’re fairly certain of the cleanliness of your water, because most survival straws can’t get rid of every single bacteria and virus in the water.
Solar water purification
This is another method that should only be performed during extreme situations. For this method, all you need is a plastic bottle full of water and a clear, sunny day. Leave the water bottle out in the sun for one to two days and let the sun’s ultraviolet light kill off the bacteria and other hazardous materials in the water. Be warned though that there’s no guarantee this method will kill off all the bacteria and viruses that may be in your water.
Plants use water to hydrate themselves through their root systems. When they draw up the water from their roots, it turns into water vapor. This method helps you catch that excess water. All you need is a large bag or something similar that can fully enclose itself around a large portion of a tree’s leaves or branches. Tie the bag around that part of the tree and leave it for several hours or even a day. You should notice water pooling at the bottom of your bag. This water may still need to be filtered before you drink it.
There is more than one way to filter and purify your water. For maximum efficiency, consider applying more than one method for your drinking water, such as filtering it and then boiling it right after. If you would rather drink water that you’re absolutely certain is clean, then start preparing now by stocking up on emergency water supply, so you won’t have to resort to collecting water from outdoors.