One of the most important things you need when you are put in a position of crisis or desperation is water to drink and no matter what water is visually available it’s likely polluted with bacteria, chemicals and other toxic substances.
So what do you do?
That is exactly what we are going to solve for you in a few easy examples you can use to find water, purify what you find so it’s at least palatable.
One of the things you find distasteful besides the taste is the odor of water from outside exposed sources. It is incredibly difficult to rid both taste and smell.
If you are observant you see water in a huge number of places such as rivers, lakes, ponds and ditches where there is water visible you will always find pollutants such as pathogenic organisms, sewerage, automotive products (transmission fluid, engine oil, antifreeze), soil sediments (silt and other organic matter such as dead plants, leaves and grasses) and fertilizers.
Best source for fresh water are two methods rainwater and dew. Rainwater is usually clean enough that you can drink it as it falls into a containment system you can devise but in drought ridden areas such as the southwestern portion of the USA it’s a poor chance.
To do any of what we propose I suggest you keep emergency items in the trunk of your vehicle in a large sealed plastic back so no moisture is able to get in and moisture absorbent silica bags can help that situation not occur too.
Using Absorbent Materials – Using a clean sheet or a blanket
In areas where rainfall is more frequent a simple method is to take a clean sheet or blanket spread open over a bush above the ground allowing it o get as wet as is possible soaking up rainwater and then you can periodically allow the blanket to hand by one end while you drain it into a clean container gathering as much as ½ gallon of drinkable water each time if the rain lasts.
Another method is taking a clean sheet or blanket and wrapping it around the truck of a small sampling with branches high off the ground by at least 6-8 feet and allowing the lower hanging corner to hang low enough so it is close to the ground and can drain the rainwater into a clean container here again you can gather as much as ½ gallon of drinkable water each time if the rain lasts.
Morning Dew and Mist – learning to use improvised methods of water gathering
You need to think ahead and keep a 5’ x 5’ plastic sheet, a cheap plastic bucket or trash can ($1 at Dollar Store), a piece of visqueen or part of a plastic drop cloth ($1 at Dollar Store),. Also four (4) wooden dowels or chopsticks work great too each about 10” – 12” long, a spool of string 25’ – 50’ long (for multiple usage). Store these items in a large sealed plastic garbage bag – hint SEALED so zip tie it shut to keep out the dirt.
You place the four wooden dowels or chopsticks in a 4-1/2’ x 4-1/2’ area to form a perfect square, attaching by tying the corners of the plastic sheet to the wooden dowels or chopsticks with a piece of string. On one end you tie the corners at the top of the wooden dowels or chopsticks and at the other end you tie then two inches lower allowing the center of the plastic to form a V at the lower end.
OK – now you’ve got the catchment all set up here comes the hard part demanding 5 minutes of physical labor.
At the lower end of the plastic where the V shape is lowest you dig a hole – 12” x 12” by 12-inches deep and place your clean bucket (holds usually ½ – 1 gallon) at the bottom below the low V shaped end.
When it rains you gather fresh water as fast as it fills up and at night the dew will do a pretty good job for you too if the humidity is good and the dew point is right.
So now you have followed my lead and have successfully gathered water how do you store it besides carrying around your bucket all day?
Get yourself a clean plastic one gallon milk jug or two and pour your fresh water in there to keep it safe from outside pollutants or you accidentally knocking it over which will be a real disaster in an open bucket.
Now you have it a cheap and easy method to gather water.
I will cover water purification methods in next weeks tip.