Since water is the most important item to have, (you die within days without it) I thought that it would be a good idea to compile some good information on precedures that will be beneficial to your survival.
Rainwater collected in clean containers or in plants is usually safe for drinking. However, purify water from lakes, ponds, swamps, springs, or streams, especially the water near human settlements or in the tropics. When possible, purify all water you got from vegetation or from the ground by using iodine or chlorine, or by boiling. Purify water by– •Using water purification tablets. (Follow the directions provided.) •Placing 5 drops of 2 percent tincture of iodine in a canteen full of clear water. If the canteen is full of cloudy or cold water, use 10 drops. (Let the canteen of water stand for 30 minutes before drinking.) •Boiling water for 1 minute at sea level, adding 1 minute for each additional 300 meters above sea level, or boil for 10 minutes no matter where you are. By drinking nonpotable water you may contract diseases or swallow organisms that can harm you.
Examples of such diseases or organisms
•Dysentery- Severe, prolonged diarrhea with bloody stools, fever, and weakness.
•Cholera- an acute infectious disease characterized by watery diarrhea that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae
•Typhoid – An acute, highly infectious disease caused by a bacillus (Salmonella typhi) transmitted chiefly by contaminated food or water and characterized by high fever, headache, coughing, intestinal hemorrhaging, and rose-colored spots on the skin.
Note: You may be susceptible to these diseases regardless of inoculations.
•Flukes-Stagnant, polluted water–especially in tropical areas–often contains blood flukes. If you swallow flukes, they will bore into the bloodstream, live as parasites, and cause disease.
•Leeches- If you swallow a leech, it can hook onto the throat passage or inside the nose. It will suck blood, create a wound, and move to another area. Each bleeding wound may become infected.
How to Make an Improvised Charcoal Water Filter:
- Obtain FRESH charcoal that has cooled completely. To create a good supply of charcoal, create a camp fire and when you have a good coal bed, bank your fire by covering it with dirt or ash and come back in a day or two. Uncover the charcoal and allow to cool completely before removing.
- Crush your charcoal into small bits, from powder up to the size of aquarium gravel.
- Obtain or fashion a cylindrical container. Taller is better than wider. In the photos I’m using a 2-liter soda bottle with the end cut off.
- Fill the smaller opening with tightly packed grass or a piece of fabric (if both ends are the same diameter choose either one) to prevent the charcoal from falling out or running through with the water. If you are using a bottle that still has its cap, poke a small hole in the cap before placing your fabric or grass.
- Pack the crushed charcoal into the container TIGHTLY. The idea here is to create as fine a matrix as possible for the water to DRIP through slowly, thus trapping more sediment and “wee beasties”. If the water runs rather than drips through the filter, you need to pack your charcoal tighter. You should have enough crushed charcoal to fill your cylinder up about halfway.
- It is a good idea to place a couple of inches of packed-down grass or sand, or another piece of cloth on top of the charcoal to prevent it from becoming displaced when you add your water.
- Place your filter atop a catch-container for your water. In the photo we are using a glass jar so you can see the changes easily, but in a wilderness situation it is a good idea to filter directly into the pot you are going to boil the water in rather than the one you will be drinking from (in the event they are not one in the same).
- Slowly pour the untreated water into your filter (being careful not to displace your sand) filling the remainder of your cylinder with water and allowing it to slowly percolate through. Remember, the water should DRIP SLOWLY out the bottom of your filter.
- After all of the water has run through the filter, pour it back through as many times as needed to make it clear. I usually run it through at least two, preferably three, times.
- Once the desired clarity has been achieved, bring the water to a boil for a few minutes in order to make sure it is completely sterilized. Remember, boiling is the only way to ensure safety from pathogens. (Taste can be further improved by adding a small lump of charcoal to the boiling water.) Enjoy your clean water!