How to collect safe drinking water
Humans do not live long without water. Most of the time, you will be able to carry, buy or find water easily on a trek. But if anything goes wrong you will need to know how to get water safely when out in the wilderness. There are a variety of ways to do this, so choose the one that suits your circumstances best. In all cases, make sure you purify your water by boiling or with water purification tabs before drinking it.
COLLECT RAIN WATER
If the weather is wet, place cups and bowls or any other container you can make and place it in an open area so you can collect rainwater.
Alternatively, lay out a vinyl sheet on a piece of ground that has a natural hollow and form a depression in the centre using stones rocks. If possible, make sure your tarp and rocks are as clean as possible before using them.
Collect dew with a towel
This is perfect if you are in an area where there is a heavy early morning dew. Simply drag a clean towel over a dew-covered area then wring it out over a bowl. You may not collect a lot of water this way but you can often get enough to keep you going until you find a better water supply.
Collect water with plastic bags
This one works great for wooded areas when you have a bit of time and the trees are in leaf. Tie a large plastic bag over a leafy branch. Wait a while and water from leaves will evaporate and condense into the bag. You may have to filter out any bugs or plant material before drinking the water. A clean handkerchief or scarf can serve this purpose.
Collect water with a solar still
This one takes a bit more effort and time and is a bit more complicated but it can produce a good supply of water if done correctly.
- Find a piece of ground that is on a slope.
- Dig out an oval-shaped trench.
- Around the edges of the first trench, dig a second trench. This means you have an inner ‘bowl’ or trench and an outer perimeter trench.
- Place a tall stick in the center of the inner trench
- Fill the inner trench with some plant material, like leaves and twigs.
- Cover both trenches and the stick with a large plastic bag. The whole thing needs to be completely covered.
- Use rocks to hold the edges in place.
- Water should condense under the plastic tend and pool in the outer trench.