Water is the most important basic need you have. Keeping yourself hydrated is important for so many reasons. It provides needed moisture to your organs and tissues, it regulates body temperature, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells. Water does much more for your body than simply quench your thirst. Your body needs as much water as it can get. Most doctors recommend drinking eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy.
In an apocalyptic situation, water would not just be hard to come by, but difficult to find in useable condition. Faucets would most likely stop running after a month or so and bottled water will no doubt be claimed right away. You’ll have to constantly go out and find water sources. It’s said that an adult in an active situation can dehydrate in as quickly as an hour. Obviously the apocalypse would be an active situation and the most extreme caution would apply. Finding and preparing water for use will be a daily task.
Any water your bound to find in an apocalypse, no matter where it’s from, will probably be contaminated with dirt and bacteria. So it’s important to have a way to filter it so that no one gets sick. Obviously, in these conditions, buying a Brita water filter isn’t going to be an option. Your going to have to get creative and resourceful with your filtration methods and as I go on I’m going to explain a few easy ways to do just that. The following are relatively simple methods of making effective water filters out of everyday materials.
The first method I’m going to describe uses solar heat and evaporation. This method is best used when plenty of time is available for collection. For this you’ll need a shovel, a tarp, something to the effect of a coffee can, and some rocks.
Solar Method: Dig a hole in the ground and place a rock in the center of it. Place the coffee can on the rock. Fill the hole around the can with the dirty water, try not to get any in the can. Stretch the tarp out over the hole and weigh down the corners with larger rocks. Place a smaller rock in the center of the tarp above the can and push it down, indenting the surface of the tarp. Let that sit in the heat and as the sun evaporates the water it will condense onto the underside of the tarp and run down into the can.
Another method is to create an actual filter to pour the contaminated water through. These are useful if you don’t have time to wait for the sun to filter water for you. I’ll start with a basic filter using all natural materials.
Basic Bark Filter: Carefully cut a 16 to 18 inch wide piece of bark away from the trunk of a birch or willow tree. Roll the strip of bark into a cone shape leaving a dime sized hole at the small end and wrap the cone using a rope or strong vine. Tosh a few small rocks into the bottom of the cone and then cover them with an inch thick layer of grass. Over that pour an inch of sand, then place another inch of grass, then more sand, and so on until the cone is almost full. Be sure to leave space at the top for water to sit. Pour dirty water through the filter numerous times until it is clear. This type of filter can only clean large particles from your water, and will not filter any bacteria. Charcoal can be added to any homemade filtration system to filter bacteria and germs from contaminated water.
A simple example of this is the plastic bag filter. Cut a hole in the bottom of a plastic bag and tie it off leaving just a small opening for the water to drain through. Hang the bag, open, from a tree branch with some kind of rope. Place a layer of charcoal at the bottom of the plastic bag. Over the charcoal pour a layer of sand. Then add a layer of rocks, then another layer of sand, and another of rocks. Pour the water through the filter. You can pour it through more than once to be on the safe side.
You can make a similar filter using a two liter bottle. Cut the bottle in half and cover the neck of the top in cheese cloth. Pour a layer of charcoal into the top half of the bottle. Then a layer of sand, followed by a layer of gravel. Use the bottom half of the bottle to collect the clean water.
You can use sturdier things like coffee cans, to make your filters. You can also add more layers of cloth, fine and coarse gravel and sand, even cotton. The effectiveness of your filter will depend on the materials you have available.
Remember that all the water you filter should still be boiled before use to be sure it’s as clean as possible. Whenever possible use a cover when boiling your water to increase temperature and kill more bacteria. If you have the materials available to distill the water, then that’s even better. Try to store all your water in clean, nonabsorbent containers.
Now that you have the capabilities to filter your water, your options for where to collect it open up a bit. The more effective your filter is will determine how dirty of water you can start out with, but if you’ve made a good filter, you’ll be able to salvage water from sources you may have otherwise over looked.
Some examples of places to salvage filterable water would be toilet tanks, storm drains, water heaters, and car radiators. The water from these sources will most likely be dirty but able to be cleaned with a well made filter. Try to consider all sources of water rather than just the obvious.
Water is one of the most, if not the most, important aspect of your survival. You have to find it and it needs to be clean. Using the methods I’ve covered in this article, accomplishing this daily task will be bit easier. There are many more and different ways to make homemade filters and a little research can have you constructing a sophisticated filtration system to sustain not just you for a day, but a group for an extended period. I ‘d recommend learning more about water filtration and your options for materials. You just can’t under value the importance of clean water.