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25 Ways To Get Clean Drinking Water In An Emergency

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Feature | Pensive blond woman drinking water in her kitchen | Ways To Get Clean Drinking Water In An Emergency

How many ways to get clean drinking water do you know? These methods will help you hydrate when clean drinking water is not readily available.

RELATED: Emergency Water Part 4: Resources

Ways to Get Clean Drinking Water: Your Options

Drinking Water Purification Methods

If you love the outdoors or you have gone on a trip in the wilderness you know how fast you could gulp down a bottle of water. It can be the intense heat of the sun beating down on you or you’re sweating profusely from all the rigorous activities your body has been through.

What if you run out of water in the middle of nowhere? You may come across a body of water but you’re not too sure about it being clean unless you’re an extreme survivalist.

You wouldn’t want to end up with diarrhea or stomach problems, would you? Whether you’re outdoors or at home, being able to get clean drinking water in an emergency is vital to quench your thirst and survive.

The following list will show you a number of ways to get clean drinking water should you find yourself in a pinch.

1. Rainwater

Drain for rain water in a plastic barrel in a country house | Ways To Get Clean Drinking Water In An Emergency
This can be the most basic substitute next to having a direct source of potable drinking water. You can collect them in rain barrels attached to the downspouts from your roof.

The need for straining, filtering and purifying is still needed prior to consumption.

2. Hot Seat

The tank of your toilet seat that has a removable lid, more often than not, can be a good source of drinkable clean water.

Since it comes directly from your tap then it may be good to drink. However, that would depend on the age of your toilet.

3. Water Heater Tanks

You will not have to boil the water taken from these tanks as it has already done that for you. Just make sure you turn off the gas or electricity before unplugging the drain at the bottom of the tank.

4. The SODIS Way


SODIS or solar ultraviolet water disinfection utilizes solar energy (UV-radiation) to purify water to rid it from diarrhea-causing pathogens and other harmful microorganisms. All you need is a clear water bottle or a plastic water bag, sunlight, and short waiting time.

5. How to Purify Water by Boiling

Boiling tap water for drinking is one of the oldest types of water purification. First, pour the water through a coffee filter or a piece of cloth to rid it of visible debris and dirt.

Heat up the water until it starts to boil. If you have a thermometer it is best that the water temperature reaches a boiling point of 212° F or 100° C to kill all pathogens.

6. Soil/Sand Filter

Without the latest technology water filters, one has to go back to the basics. Using a clean empty container, place a shirt or piece of cloth over it then fill it with sand or soil which will act as your filter.

Other than removing sediments and particles, there is no assurance on the presence of bacteria.

7. Use a Solar Still


Just by digging a 3 feet deep hole into a ground, and using a wide plastic container you’ll be good to go. It may take some time but if you really don’t have any other option then waiting for your drink can be far off better than ingesting potentially harmful water.

8. Evaporation Distillation Method

You can even turn salt water into drinking water through different methods. It may require a bit more energy and more complex tools.

However, it may be worth the wait especially if you’re located near the beach or floating aimlessly on a boat in the ocean.

9. Filtrating Through Moss

Moss absorbs moisture and can give you a quick sip if water can’t be found anywhere else.

The web-like structure of moss also helps sift visible dirt and debris. But this doesn’t ensure the water you take out of moss is 100% purified.

10. DIY Pocket Water Filter


A small tube-like piece of material like bamboo can be used as your base. Fill it with moss, then charcoal, then moss again in respective order.

Top it with the top end of a plastic bottle sealed with pine pitch and it will give you an instant water filter.

11. A DIY Water Filter

With the use of ordinary day to day items such as a gallon bucket and a little bit of patience, you can have your own filtration water purification system when out in the wild. Adding bleach or chlorine will give you safe drinking water to end your hydration worries.

12. Purify a la Pool Shock

Also known as Calcium Hypochlorite which can be a substitute for bleach in purifying water. It has a very long shelf life, occupies very little space for storage, very affordable, and most of all, it’s readily available almost everywhere.

13. Fire It up System

With the use of 2 metal drums, a sheet of metal, and fire, you can get distilled water for drinking. Place a fire at the bottom of the drum with bad water then arrange the metal sheet in a curve-like manner in an angle where it will drip steam into the catch drum.

RELATED: How To Survive Without Running Water

14. Bleach Your Way out of It

You can disinfect a gallon of water with just 16 drops of chlorine bleach or a quarter with just 4 drops. This does not substitute the boiling method though.

Don’t forget to filter the water from sediments and debris.

15. Through Hydrogen Peroxide Purification


Hydrogen Peroxide has the capacity to purify water like that of chlorine and bleach. You will have to treat the water with twice the amount than that of chlorine or bleach.

What is Hydrogen Peroxide? A colorless liquid and a highly reactive chemical that contains hydrogen and oxygen.

Shake or stir then let it sit for half an hour. There should be a slight peroxide odor after that.

Otherwise, it may not have done a significant purification effect.

16. Iodine Tablets

Filtering the water from sediments is still needed since all these little wonders can do is purify your water.

A small iodine tablet can purify up to a liter of water. Drop it in, give it a little shake and let it stand for 30 minutes before drinking.

17. Potassium Permanganate Purification

KMNO4 or more commonly called Condy’s crystals is a water softener sold in pill or powder form. 1g or 3 to 4 crystals can purify a liter of water.

18. Combo System

A combination of all the basic ways to get clean water would ensure it is indeed safe to drink. Filtering, distilling, chlorinating/disinfecting water from different water sources will give you peace of mind that you’re drinking safe water.

19. Hydration Backpack System


You can fill the Geigerrig pack with water taken from lakes, rivers, creeks, and streams to name a few and then attach the filter. You’ll be drinking clean drinking water even on the go in no time.

20. The Berkey Light Purification Device

This lightweight and shatter-resistant purifier needs no electricity and is capable of filtering 4 to 8 gallons of the murkiest water. Getting clean water has never been this safe because it’s more than “just another water filter…”

21. Sucking It Up System

You will have to embrace the suck on this one as you will surely be sucking it up since your life will surely depend on it. All it takes for you is to pop, dip, and suck then you’re good to go.

This little compact tool is called the Lifestraw and it weighs only about 2 oz., you will not have to worry about bringing a bottle anymore.

22. SteriPEN It


This revolutionary handheld water purifier is tested and certified by the WQA against US EPA Microbiological Water Purifier Standard. It uses UV light to make your water safe to drink.

You will have to filter the water from dirt and debris though as it just sterilizes your water.

23. Sweetwater Purifier System

With an easy-to-use lever action pump handle, it can provide 1L of drinkable water per minute. This system weighs only 14 oz. and can be easily stored and pack in your bag.

24. Katadyn Water Filtration System


This mini filter can produce one to two quarts per minute depending on the mode applied. Depending on the quality of the water source the cartridge can give up to 500 gallons of water.

25. DIY Water Storage

Preparation for long-term is also a must. Carefully clean containers to be used for water storage, sanitize and label according to the date filled, store in a cool dark place and then rotate the container every six months to a year.

 

Here’s a video by NightHawkInLight about an improvised distillation that turns salt water into fresh drinkable water:

There are a lot of other ways to get clean drinking water in the event of an emergency. The methods, as well as the tools and equipment we shared here, are but a few of these ways.

Making sure of the unsure should the situation call for it is the most basic survival tool any survivalist must utilize. You are sure to survive longer or even get through an emergency situation if you master the basic techniques above.

Which of these ways to get clean drinking water have you tried yourself? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 10, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.




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34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. Hansel Gonzalez

    February 11, 2018 at 8:52 AM

    awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  34. Jerry

    May 24, 2019 at 1:10 PM

    On “Naked and Afraid” a lady used a magnifying glass to purify her drinking water. Does this work? I can find no information on this

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