How to clean water in extreme conditions
In the wild, people often encounter a lack of drinking water and start looking for sources in the forest. However, water even from crystal clear streams can cause gastrointestinal distress, and then you will definitely forget about thirst and dehydration.
Watch the video on the topic
No matter how clean the source of fresh water seems, there is a high probability that there are various pathogens and bacteria that can cause illness or other ailments.
Giardia, rotaviruses, and dysentery can all be found in water sources contaminated with human or animal waste. This is only a small part of what just one SIP can lead to. Of course, this does not always happen, but it is definitely not worth the risk. What should I do?
Clean the water from visible contaminants
The first step is cleaning or primary filtering. This will remove solid particles, dirt and sediment, as well as many microorganisms. First, you need to ensure that there were no visible contaminants, and the water was not muddy.
You can either let the untreated water stand for at least one hour so that all the dirt settles on the bottom, or strain it through a coffee filter or a clean bandana. The procedure is best done several times to achieve maximum transparency.
After you get clear water and get rid of visible dirt, you need to destroy all potential bacteria. The most effective method is boiling.
Do not forget to take this into account when you are going on a hike. You should have enough wood, gas, or other fuel that you use. It is also important to remember that at high altitudes, water boils longer.
In addition to boiling, you can use iodine, chlorine, and chlorine dioxide by adding them to the water. These are cheap and effective products that are sold in every pharmacy. Substances can be in liquid or powder form, as well as in tablets. For disinfection, it is necessary to infuse water for 30 minutes, if the water is very cold, then a little longer.
Another popular cleaning method is filtration. There are two types of filters: ceramic and carbon. The latter is more popular among tourists, as it is lighter and cheaper, but ceramic ones are reusable. However, filtering will not get rid of viruses. Even filters that contain iodine resins are not very reliable.
In any emergency, do not collect water in rivers and streams, especially if there are campsites or pastures upstream. Better look for springs and underground springs. If you are in the mountains, then climb as high as possible, because the water is cleaner at altitude.