5 Ways to Purify and Store Water for Survival

| October 15, 2013 |

water purification

Heating water to kill all those nasty bacteria, viruses and invisible bugs that are swimming in your water is an effective measure. Heating water to the boiling point and holding it at that temperature for 20 minutes is all it takes. You don’t actually have to even raise the temperature to boiling (165 degrees will do the trick) but most people can easily recognize when water is at the boiling point. Chemically treating water after boiling will keep it safe for drinking during storage.

Chemical Treatment by itself, can be less effective than boiling unless you have a means for measuring the effect of the treatment, however it is a widely used method for purifying water. Household bleach (effective shelf life of about 4 months) can be used (no additives or fragrances) can be used as well as calcium hypochlorite (preferred due to very long shelf life) that is used for pool water treatment. Every water plan should have this as a primary backup option in cases where a heat source for boiling water is not available.

Water Storage

Your water plan must include proper storage of both drinking / cooking water and water for other uses. Water is heavy and needs the proper support for large volume containers. Once a large volume container is full, you won’t be moving it to a more convenient location. Water for drinking and cooking must be kept in food grade storage containers to prevent leaching of chemicals from unsafe plastic or metal containers. To avoid cross-contamination, never use a container for water storage that was previously filled with chemicals or other products.

Water Heating

During an extended electrical power outage, producing hot water for bathing and sanitation can become an arduous task if your only solution is to heat water over a fire or on a wood stove. Morale can quickly deteriorate if your group cannot keep themselves clean.

Alternate Sources of Water

If your normal source of water is interrupted and your stored water stocks start getting low, you will need to replenish from an alternate source. Your water plan should pre-identify where these alternate sources are. All alternate sources should be pre-checked to determine the water quality. Send samples to your county agent for analysis for bacteria, organic and non-organic contamination so you know what you are dealing with during an emergency. Be advised that other people may be using water flows upstream and could contaminate the water above the original test sample.

Alternate water sources include:

  • Wells
  • Roof Runoff
  • Creeks, Rivers and Lakes
  • Ponds
  • Building Pipes in Urban Areas
  • Hot Water Heaters
  • Swimming Pools
  • Recycling Water

In situations where good water is scarce, conservation and re-use procedures are essential in your water plan. Any water used for washing, bathing, or cooking can be re-used for filling the toilet tank for flushing or for watering the garden. Water left over from cooking can be used for the basis of stock pot soups and preparation of other foods.

Category: Wilderness Skills

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