Man cannot survive by water alone, but almost.
Clean Drinking Water For Survival
It almost goes without saying clean drinking water is one of the top priorities when it comes to survival. I have discussed it in articles about prepping for disaster, being prepared for an extended blackout, or having it available if stranded in the middle of nowhere.
If you really think about a situation where you could not get out of where you were or for some reason or another it was unsafe to go anywhere and you had to survive for an extended period of time, there really isn’t much you really need to sustain life. You will need some sort of shelter, a bit of food, and WATER! With these three things, one could survive for a very long time until the situation changed or someone came to the rescue.
In this article, I am going to focus on water. I will provide a resource for storing water, finding clean water for survival, how to filter water for survival, and some ideas on how to make your own water. I will also show you a few things on how to purify water for survival.
Be Ready Before You Have to Be
The first thing you need to do is prepare for a disaster. This is the priority of this site, to help others realize that the possibility of being able to run down to the corner and get whatever you want may not always be there.
For this, we will want to have enough water stored to give you time to get through the beginning of something worse. If you would like to read up on this, you can get my free guide Not By Water Alone. Just click on the blue letters and fill out the form. In this guide, you will find a list of 9 things you need to have ready before you have to be ready including clean drinking water for surviving.
If you enjoy this guide, I also have a book for sale. I Will Survive. This book covers these items and a few more in some depth. If you would like to just dive in and get started on prepping I have laid things out for you in Where To Start. On this page I have recommended items to get you ready and a lot of information on how or why you would need them. Under each heading on the page, there are more blue letters/links to other posts I have written to better explain each section too.
You will find a lot of links to Amazon. I am an associate and do make a small commission from any sale through the page but it costs you no more than if you were to go anywhere else. Someone will get the commission so please help me continue this effort in helping others find this information and go through my site if you plan to make any Amazon purchase. You don’t even have to buy what I have listed.
Finding Water For Survival
Now that you are prepared and have enough water stored, know how to keep it fresh and ready to help you survive for the first 72 hours, you will need to learn a few things about how and where to find water for survival. As I mentioned, clean drinking water for survival is essential!
There are several ways to accomplish this task. Some are very simple but require some skill and knowledge about how to handle or process to ensure there are no germs or bacteria in the water you would use to drink. An infection of the digestive system would be horrible, possibly lethal if you were in a survival situation.
Collecting rainwater is the easiest and fastest way in most environments. This is a good source for most of your water to be used for laundry, bathing, and cleaning things up. I do not recommend it for drinking unless you are prepared to filter and purify first. Rainwater will have whatever it is exposed to in it. Pollution in the air, whatever is on your roof or gutter you are collecting it from, and many of these items can have harmful bacteria or materials.
Streams, running water, or groundwater are the next most common. They are also a little safer. Most of this water will have large sediment or bacteria naturally filtered but not completely. Never drink from a pond or lake without treating either. It is not the same as running water. Groundwater is the best primitive alternative. It takes a bit of skill, some specific materials, and hard work but drilling a well is one of the most common ways we as a civilization have used and still use currently.
One of the cleanest and primitive ways to collect water is a solar still. This requires sunlight, plastic sheeting, and a few other materials. This process basically evaporates water from the ground and condenses it back to the water for you to collect. This is the safest way to find clean water for drinking but does not yield large quantities. You will have to dig a shallow hole in the ground a bit smaller than your plastic sheet. Suspend the sheet above the hole from all four corners and place a small rock in the center so it forms a slope to the middle. Then place a container for collecting and storing the water under the plastic where the rock is in a way the water that condenses on the plastic sheet will drip into the container. The way this works is the sun shines through the plastic and heats the ground evaporating the moisture from it. The vapor rises and comes in contact with the sheeting and condenses back to water on the plastic. once enough moisture collects the droplets will run down toward the rock above your container and begin to drip into it. Make sure the plastic is not touching the container or it will run down the side and back into the ground.
These can also be purchased premade from one of these links.
How To Filter Water For Survival
Now that you have a few ways to find clean water, there are a few more things to consider. Depending on how and where you have collected the water, you will need to filter it to suit your needs. This will be determined by what you plan to use it for. If you have access to a stream and require large amounts of filtering you can set up a cistern with sand and gravel. This will be good for washing, bathing, and even watering livestock.
If you plan to use the water for drinking I would recommend other means for filtering and then purification, which I will describe next. For filtering your drinking water, I recommend being ready before you have to be. Get some of these.
How To Purify Water For Survival
Now that you have clean water, there is still the possibility of microorganisms. There is the chance of bacteria and viruses’ still present in the water that could potentially make you sick. If you have used one of the filters I mentioned above, this type of filter will even remove some of the bacteria and viruses’. To be on the safe side here are a few ways to purify the water before using it for consumption.
The first and most common way is to boil for a few minutes and allow it to cool in a covered container. Then dump into whatever you have for storage. To my knowledge, there are no bacteria or viruses that can survive at 212 degrees F. You cannot leave it to a rapid boil for very long because the water you have worked so hard to collect will evaporate and disappear into the air.
The next very common method is bleach. I am sure some of you are thinking, I am going to drink bleach!? I know, sounds terrible but if you have tap water piped into your house from a municipal service, you are drinking bleach. It is otherwise known as chlorine. When using this, you only need 8 drops for every gallon of clean water. This must be plain chlorine bleach without sent or additives. Then it should sit for a minimum of a half-hour.
There are two more things you can have in your supplies you prepped for this very reason. They are iodine and purification tablets. These are also common ways to disinfect water for drinking. You can get those below by clicking on one of the banners. With these purchased items I would recommend following the instructions on the container.
Using Your Clean Drinking Water
Man, that’s a lot of work for a little water, right! It really isn’t too bad once you have things set up and get a little practice at it. You do need to remember, the filtering and purification are only for the water that will be used for drinking and cooking.
This process was a normal chore for our ancestors. These days we overlook the convenience of turning on a faucet and filling a glass to drink without really having to worry about it. If you look it up, it is recommended that the average person should consume a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day.
If you are in a survival situation you can make it with a lot less but some is required to survive. If you can process about 1 gallon per person per day you are doing very well. You can survive on less but it will have an effect on your body and reduce your strength and chances for survival.
Even if you do not prep and get ready before you have to be, at least remember what you have read here. If things go south someday this bit of information could save your life!
I hope it never happens!
Hello Chad! Reading your article about water for survival is very relatable because my husband is a prepper! And we have a huge rainwater tank for watering the plants. But lately, he decided to install a filtration system and an ultraviolet thing (i don’t know the exact term) to totally clean the water so we can drink it. We started drinking it at the end of December and so far, so good.
He thinks that the situation is going to get worse due to this pandemic, that’s why he is really into preparing. Just like you, we really hope it never happens!
I understand where you are coming from! Your husband is currently using one of the best, most efficient ways to collect and make water safe for drinking. I recommend test kits for ensuring you are keeping it up right (peace of mind mostly). Kudo’s to him for having this setup. It will make things so much easier if this does happen.
One thing I will mention to you, in the event it does, you will have a commodity that everyone will need. You will have to protect it and it will be worth a lot for bartering, selling, and trading.
Last thing and you guys may have already considered all of this. UV lights are great but they require electricity. Have a backup plan for purification! A few gallons of pure chlorine bleach will go a long way (8 drops/ gal.).
one of the biggest tricks to planning for survival is to have more than one way to get water, make fire, and provide food. Store them in different locations too. That way you can continue to survive if things get damaged, stolen, or just quit.
Good luck, wish you the best, and good job!
Haha thanks for the article my guy! To be completely honest with you, I actually found this article really helpful. I’m a big fan of hiking and outdoorsy stuff, and you can never be too sure of what’ll happen that day. At one point, you could have all the fresh water you need, and the next be stranded with none. I found the products super helpful as well.. I didn’t know there were other methods to purifying water than just boiling it at a really hot temperature. Thanks for the tips!
Hi there Jongabriel,
In my ventures around the internet, I have discovered with the new generations coming up, there is a lot of interest in traveling the world with nothing but a backpack. I love this idea and would enjoy it myself. Living this kind of lifestyle could leave you in a very bad place if you are not prepared.
Like you said, without notice, you can find yourself in the middle of nowhere with nothing but what you are carrying. Even with all the wonders of civilization, there are still many places that are really uninhabited with nothing for miles.
Knowledge of this topic alone could save your life.
Hi there! Such an amazing article! Wow, I must say I learnt alot from this article, mostly on how to purify water for survival. It’s a good thing I came across this educative piece. Prior to this, I never knew using a solar still to get water is one of the cleanest and primitive way, well done! Thanks for sharing this.
A solar still is an amazing process. One can actually extract somewhat filtered water from the ground and purify it through changing state from liquid to vapor and back to liquid with very little materials. Usually, materials that can be found just lying around.
I still prefer just putting my glass under the faucet though.
Hello there, thank you so much for sharing this. this is a very awesome piece and a very detailed one. I’m really happy I came across this. Reading about this article water for survival sounds really interesting. Water is the most important liquid on earth. Both humans and animals needs water. I enjoyed going through this article. It was indeed informative and helpful
One would think as important as water is to life on earth, we as a whole would be more in tune with how to provide it. The conveniences of today’s society have made us less aware. I am glad you found it useful and hope you learned from this.
This one really is a needed post because here oh have just shown me that there are many different ways that I can actually use to purify water for drinking. I do understand that eager is a neccessity and this is why I understand the importance oftthos post. I’d also like to share it so thayothers too can learn about water.
Water is the elixir of life. Everyone needs it. Right now it is plentiful and easy to come by. Just imagine how many people would cease to exist if it were not so easy to get.
That sounds a bit morbid but very true. I am trying to help people to realize this before it is too late.
Thanks, and please do share if you care!