Water filtration and purification is a top priority, and you may spend considerable time in a survival situation finding, collecting, and filtering water. It’s important that you always have the means to build a water filter or purify your drinking water in some other way.
Some survivalist and others have stated it is better to be found alive and sick than to be found dead. Drinking from a water source you find in a wilderness environment can cause you illness or even death in some cases. The choice is yours, you may find yourself in a severely dehydrated state where not drinking the water will cause certain death, while on the other hand drinking may cause sickness, but with the hope that you can be rescued and are treated before the sickness manifests into something worse.
These are the decisions that must be made in survival situations, and this is why being prepared is critical to your survival.
Drinking water that has not been properly disinfected can contain harmful bacteria, parasites and pathogens. Water purification tablets are inexpensive, can be found almost anywhere and can be carried in your pocket or bug out bag. Boiling is the preferred method for purification but you may not have the resources. Water boiling aside you should always have the means to start a fire regardless of the outdoor adventure you have planned.
Water Purification From Boiling
Rapid boil your water if you are at sea level for one minute, and up to three minutes if you suspect you are 500 feet or more above sea level. Water boils at a lower temperature at higher elevations because of reduced air pressure thus, the reason you must boil water longer.
Water must reach and maintain its temperature for a certain period for all waterborne contaminates to be destroyed, and the length of time it must boil depends on the temperature. For every 500 feet above sea level the boiling point of water is reduced by approximately one degree.
Some of you may wonder why not just boil water for three minutes or even longer no matter your elevation. Boiling will cause you to lose water volume through evaporation. The steam rising is precious drinking water being lost to the atmosphere.
You can literally boil a pot of water dry if you are not paying attention. If you have a limited water source, this can have dire consequences. You may have found a mud puddle or a rock depression with water in it, which means you have to be careful and not waste any. Boiling water longer than the recommended times will not make the water any more pure.
Filter your water before boiling or chemically treating it. Filtering will remove debris, insects, sediment and waterborne cysts that contain bacteria and parasites. Use coffee filters, bandanas, pieces of clothing, sand, gravel and charcoal to filter your water. In some instances, not removing debris from the water can render purification tablets ineffective and the boiling process may not destroy certain waterborne cysts. The cysts can act as a shield and can withstand high temperatures and chemicals for prolonged periods thus protecting the bacteria harbored inside.
Making A Field Expedient Water Filter
Making a water filter out of a plastic bottle is done by using a two-liter plastic bottle cut off at the bottom and placing cloth or a coffee filter at the top end (cap end) and then using charcoal or coals from a campfire above the cloth or coffee filter. After that you will need to find some sand or very fine gravel and finally top the field expedient filter off with some gravel.
You can use any container that has NOT been used to store chemicals or toxins as a filtering device, Milk jugs and 2liter bottles work the best because of their size but you can use any plastic container to make a water filter. You will probably not have room or the need to have a gallon of milk in your bug out bag (but if you feel the need more power to ya) so scavenging for a suitable container will probably be necessary and quite easy to find depending on your surroundings.
You must have a wider open end and then the smaller (top) hole in the other end for water to filter through into a container for boiling or chemical treatment. I always recommend boiling water after it is run thru the filter, the last thing you want in the middle of a survival situation is illness.
When using Iodine Tablets always follow the label directions carefully. The directions when using purification tablets vary based on the manufacturer and type of purification tablet you have in your pack. In some cases, you will have to wait up to four hours after treating with the tablets.
There are also other ways of procuring water when there is no “water source” like a lake or a river near you. You will have to use your imagination and think outside the box to find it sometimes but unless your in the middle of a desert you can probably find some source of water. The concern you should have though is…will I be able to find enough water to survive?
In an urban situation you will be able to find water from water heaters, garden hoses, toilets…etc. In a wilderness setting you could do a rain dance (just kidding, that would take energy) but if it did rain you could figure out a way to collect the rain with a tarp funnel, dig a hole with something to keep the water from seeping into the soil, build what is called a solar still or drink the water that has collected on leaves.
Like I said you will need to think outside the box whenever you are fighting for your life. Fortunately extraordinary times seem to bring out the most in people and with a little education and a lot of will to survive you would be surprised what you can do in any catastrophe or doomsday scenario.
having water, finding water and purifying water should always be on your mind, you can survive 10 times longer without food that you can without water. By educating yourself about how to build a water filter and how to procure and filter water gives you one more little advantage in a survival situation. And the more you prep the more those little advantages add up.