Although water may seem to be a “heavy” item to carry in your survival kit, it is important to note that water is probably one of the most important if not “the most important” survival item. What is important to remember s that we can survive for no more than 3 days without water, and that is if the conditions are the most favorable, i.e. it is not too hot and we are not losing too much energy. Since this is not likely going to be the case, bet on 1 to 2 days.
In times of crisis, always follow advice from local officials. Local health departments or public water systems may urge consumers to use more caution or to follow additional measures than the information provided here.
Look for other sources of potable water in and around your home. When your home water supply is interrupted by natural or other forms of disaster, you can obtain limited amounts of water by draining your hot water tank or melting ice cubes. In most cases, well water is the preferred source of drinking water. If it is not available and river or lake water must be used, avoid sources containing floating material and water with a dark color or an odor. Flowing water is always better quality than stagnant water.
Examine the physical condition of the water. When emergency disinfection is necessary, disinfectants are less effective in cloudy, murky or colored water. Filter murky or colored water through clean cloths or allow it to settle. It is better to both settle and filter. After filtering until it is clear, or allowing all dirt and other particles to settle, draw off the clean and clear water for disinfection. Water prepared for disinfection should be stored only in clean, tightly covered, containers, not subject to corrosion.
Choose a disinfection method. Boiling and chemical treatment are two general methods used to effectively disinfect small quantities of filtered and settled water.
Boiling is the surest method to make water safe to drink and kill disease-causing microorganisms like Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium, which are frequently found in rivers and lakes.
If boiling is not possible, chemical disinfection is your next best alternative. It is best to not only have water purification tablets, but also have a water filtration bottle as it is very important to purify filtered water and not just any water.