If you have been a busy bee and stored hundreds of gallons of water in various containers, jugs and barrels; you are doing an excellent job. All of that work will pay off when the tap is dry or the water supply is contaminated. You never realize how much you depend on water until it is gone.
Really, that is true of anything, but when you are talking about water, it is especially true. You cannot survive without water. You can learn to get by without other things, but water is far too important.
All of the water you have stored is likely not exactly ready to be consumed. The only exception would be the bottles of water you purchased at the store and the containers you pulled from your tap and properly stored away on your shelf. It is important you rotate your water supply as much as possible. Ideally, you will want to freshen it every six months or so.
Let’s assume you didn’t have enough water stored for one reason or another. You would have to head off into the wilderness, the local pond, river or creek to find more water. As you know (or hopefully know) all water you pull from anywhere is considered unsafe to drink.
It could be and is very likely to be contaminated with viruses, bacteria, parasites and protozoa. You can’t see these nasty little buggers, but your intestines will sure get to know them up close and personal and you will pay the price.
Don’t risk it! Always put water through some kind of purification system before you ever take that first drink.
Check out the 7 ways you can make your emergency water safe to drink.
- Iodine is similar to household bleach. It is effective at killing viruses, protozoa and bacteria in the water. The problem is the cost for a gallon of iodine is significantly more than bleach. You would also need double the amount of iodine to make the water safe to drink. However, iodine will last for a couple of years on a cool, dark shelf. Pregnant women should not drink water purified with iodine and anybody with a shellfish allergy should avoid iodine to prevent an allergic reaction.
- Boiling the water is another super easy and effective way to purify your water supply. The water just needs to hit the boiling point to be safe to drink. When you see the first big bubbles hit the surface, remove it from the heat to prevent any more water evaporating. It is a good idea to run the water through a cloth or a coffee filter before you filter it to get out any bits and pieces or sediment.
- Water purification tablets are a staple in every bug out bag. They are quick and easy to use. You drop a few tablets in your gallon of water, wait 30 minutes, give it a swirl and the water is safe. There may be a bit of an odor from the chemical solution, but it is safe. Letting the water breathe a little can eliminate the smell. The drawback is the cost and the number of tablets you would need to use to clean the water. You can’t really buy these in bulk and are stuck with buying boxes and bottles of tablets with about 30 in each package.
- Filters are an option. They do not kill the nasty stuff in the water, they remove it all together. It is imperative you look for a filter that has a small micron filter. Viruses are super tiny and most filters are not quite small enough to catch the viruses. Filters will require you to have backup cartridges in order for them to be effective. Large filters can be set up at home to take care of large quantities of water.
- UV light sticks or purifiers are pretty cool and they are effective. There are several different brands and they vary in price. Basically, you stick the light stick into the water, wait a few seconds and the light has killed off any of the viruses, bacteria and what not in the water. The trick with these handy sticks is the water must be clear to be effective. You can run the water through a coffee filter a couple of times or use the corner of your shirt as a makeshift filter.
- Household bleach is one of the most common items stored with the purpose of using it to purify water. It is effective and it is so cheap. It only takes about 8 drops of bleach to purify a gallon of water. If you pulled the water from the local pond and it is especially cloudy, you would want to use 16 drops. The only downside to household bleach is it loses its potency after about 6 months. This means you need to be diligent about adding new gallons every month so you are always ready for a disaster.
- Portable filters or something referred to as a filtering straw are an excellent choice for small amounts of water. These are handy tools that could be stashed in your bug out bag. They allow you to drink directly from small puddles of water without trying to scoop it up in a cup. The filters are very effective at removing about 99 percent of harmful bugs in the water. These filters are not going to be a good solution for when you are at home and need to filter a gallon of water for the family to drink.
In an ideal situation, you could run your water through a filter and then purify it. This ensures it is safe to drink, tastes great and you are not risking illness. Unfortunately, that isn’t always going to be possible.
You need to be prepared with a backup plan should you run out of filter cartridges. Learn how to make your own filter in the wild and to set up at home. Never risk drinking contaminated water.