A human being can live for longer than a week without food, but less than half that time without water. If the bug out safe location you have found yourself in does not have fresh water flowing in, you have a few options to make sure you are supplied with continual fresh water.
a. Keep empty containers and ‘refill’ often from known clean water sources. Not all water supply lines will be clean, but where you can find them, refill.
b. Utilize water purification tablets – Potable Aqua Water Tablets will kill many bacteria, viruses and microorganisms in most streams, rivers, and lakes. www.nitro-pak.com is one website that sells bottles of Potable Aqua and Potable Aqua Plus tablets.
c. Know how to treat non-potable water sources –
OPTIONS FOR FILTERING WATER IN THE WILD
Water Purification Tablets
Ideally, you will have water purification tablets with you. They are relatively inexpensive and handy to use. Each table treats one quart of water, so try to have enough tablets to last each person in your party for two quarts of water every other day or so. If you don’t have these there are other options.
Ceramic Water Filters
A ceramic water filter will screen out 100% of bacteria and viruses that free-float around in lakes, rivers and streams. There are kits that you can purchase that will filter out unclean water for six to eight months. If you can’t find the kit, remember that ceramic is ceramic and you can use the DIY ‘kit’.
If you do not have a tablet or filter, I know, you ordered them and had to bug out before they arrived, I understand, there are more natural options to use to filter water. Remember, that you should choose a location near water. Preferably running clear water, but even the clearest water can contain Giardia or other bacteria that could literally dry you up from the inside out.
Use the 2 foot, 4 foot rule. If the water is clear, dig a hole 2 feet from the water’s edge. Remember? I told you to bring a shovel. Dig 2 feet down. Let the earth in between the body of water and the hole you dug filter out the nasties. This ‘hole’ will fill up with somewhat clean water. You’ll still need to boil it if you can.
If the water is stagnant or murky, dig four feet from the edge and four feet down and wait for the hole to fill. Definitely boil this water if you can. If you can’t boil it, consider another location. This method will not work with a body of water contaminated by a landfill or other waste facility. Try choosing another location.
DIY Water filters
This is yet another of the myriad uses of those disposable 5 gallon plastic buckets you’ll find outside of restaurants being tossed away. Drill a ½ inch hole into the center of a bucket and stow everything away into the bucket for water purification. When you are out of tablets, filters etc you will have to build a filter. Wash off some small pebbles and place a layer of pebbles in the first inch at the bottom of the bucket.
Rip up green grass, no weeds, and place a layer of green grass over the pebbles. This layer should be about two inches deep. Find and fill a layer of clean sand over the grass about two inches deep. Place a layer of charcoal on top of the clean sand. Please don’t use the instant light charcoal, that would be counter productive and may give smokers a bad case of heart burn.
Repeat with layers of grass, sand and charcoal with an extra measure of sand on top. Hang the bucket from a tree and pour water through your filter. You are essentially creating an earth filter in a bucket. This method will work to filter about five gallons of water. Don’t reuse the filter for another batch, start again with new material.
This is the method used in many regions where the water is completely undrinkable. Dig a 2x2 hole in the ground 2 feet deep or until you hit the water table in your area. Place a bucket in the center of this hole and climb out. Drape a clear plastic sheet over the hole and stretch tightly securing it to the sides of the hole with rock or bricks. Place a small rock, just heavy enough to cause a slight ‘dip’ in the plastic. This rock should be directly over the bucket in the hole. The water will condense on the underside of this plastic sheet and collect in the center where it will drip into the bucket, relatively free of contaminants.
You will need of course a source of heat and a container that won’t melt in heat. You don’t want to use precious natural gas or electricity unless you have no other option. Time needed to make water safe to drink varies according to altitude. The idea is to get the water up to a rolling boil. (212 degrees Fahrenheit) Once the water is boiling, there is no need to maintain that and use fuel that could be used elsewhere