Since the dawn of time, human beings have had to find creative ways to access and consume safe drinking water.
These methods have evolved over time to minimize the risk of illness or poisoning via the consumption of water.
For example, thousands of years ago, people relied on their sense of sight and smell to determine whether or not water was safe to drink. At the time, the water supply was not as polluted with animal waste and chemicals, which reduced the risk of contracting an illness or ingesting dangerous toxins.
Eventually, many civilizations, such as the Egyptians, Ancient Greeks, and Medieval Englanders, realized the need for more sophisticated purification techniques. With the spread of disease and increasing scientific advancements, the popularity of water filtration techniques skyrocketed across the globe.
The majority of our water sources today are filtered and purified to a great extent to ensure we don’t contract devastating illnesses or fall victim to toxic poisoning. It’s a luxury we often take for granted, which begs the question, “What would happen if our purified water sources were suddenly cut off due to a disaster?
We can’t live without water, so we need to be prepared in the event that we have to facilitate our own water purification process.
But how can you ensure you have access to a safe water supply in the event of an emergency? Keep reading to find out...
Cholera and Typhoid: The Inspiration behind the World’s Most Popular Gravity-Based Water Filtration System
In the early 1800s, typhoid and cholera outbreaks transmitted via contaminated water sources led to a rising death toll and caused many people to fall sick. By 1835, Queen Victoria recognized the health dangers of drinking water and commissioned John Doulton--a pottery manufacturer--to produce a water filter for the Royal household. Doulton designed his filter device using his knowledge of natural springs.
Springs naturally filter themselves through layers of clay, sand, and dirt as they rise to the surface of the earth. As they travel through the layers, impurities are blocked and/or absorbed before they reach the surface. The only difference is that Doulton reverse engineered the process, using gravity as a way to purify the water as it passed from the top of the filter chamber, down through layers of natural materials, and into a cup.
According to Doulton.com,
“The outer shell of the Doulton filter is ceramic, made from natural earths. It has tiny pores in it measuring less than one micron – 100 times smaller than a hair – which filter contaminants from the water as it passes through.
Within the ceramic matrix, silver is used to inhibit bacterial growth; locking the bacteria in and stopping it regenerating on the ceramic. An activated carbon inner core provides powerful filtration, absorbing chlorine to improve the taste and smell of the drinking water.”
Today, many popular water filtration methods are based on Doulton’s water filtration system. While we don’t often think about it, the reality is that many bacteria, viruses, and toxins still lurk in our water sources today. For that reason, it’s very important that you have access to at least one water filtration method in your home in case of an emergency.
Not sure which systems and water purifying procedures work best? Here are 5 methods we recommend...
#1 - The Alexapure Pro Water Filtration System
The Alexapure Pro Filtration System is one of the best gravity-powered water filtration systems on the market. It works in the exact same way as John Doulton’s system. Water is poured into the top of the unit and carbon block filters remove microscopic contaminants. A ceramic shell also blocks larger contaminant molecules while the silver in the ceramic prevents the growth of bacteria in the filter.
A standard system is designed to last for decades and only costs a few hundred dollars--well worth the investment.
#2 - Personal Filtration Straws
Straws that filter water are another great water purification device option because they are...
- Small and compatible.
- Highly effective.
- Portable and can be carried anywhere you go.
- Very affordable.
Survival straws are essentially mini handheld versions of traditional Doulton-style water filtration systems but compacted into a straw. To use a survival straw, simply stick the end of the straw into any cup, barrel, or body of water, and sip.
You can find these straws in just about any outdoors or camping goods store since many people who hike or enjoy outdoor activities keep survival straws on hand in case of an emergency.
#3 - Disinfecting Tablets
Water purification tablets are tablets that kill pathogens in water to make it safe for human consumption. The active ingredient in water purification tablets is usually chlorine or iodine--two chemicals that deactivate bacteria, viruses, and parasitic protozoans.
To use the tablet, all you need to do is dissolve it into the water you plan to drink and let it sit for about 30 minutes to purify. Disinfecting tablets are popular as they are cheap, readily available, and easy to store. It never hurts to have a few packs on hand in case of an emergency.
#4 - Boiled Water
If you find yourself in the midst of a real crisis and don’t have any filtration devices on hand, you can also boil water. For the most part, boiling water kills off harmful bacteria and viruses that are present.
In fact, according to UPMC Health Beat…
“Many organisms cannot survive when water reaches its boiling point of 212° Fahrenheit.”
If boiling water is your only method for purification, ensure that you boil the water for at least 30 minutes before consuming it. The only downside to this method is that some toxins, such as lead, can’t be boiled out of the water. To help further purify your water, keep a stash of coffee filters on hand. Passing the water through coffee filters before you boil it will help remove larger contaminants.
#5 - Sand, Dirt, and Rock Filtration
Last but not least, I want to talk about sand, dirt, and rock filtration. If you’re in an emergency situation and aren’t prepped for limited access to clean water, nature is your best friend.
As I mentioned earlier in this post, sand, dirt, and rocks are able to cleanse natural springs and have been used as a water purification method throughout history.
In order to use this sand filtration method, you’ll need…
- 2 Buckets
To put your filtration system together, follow these steps...
- After you’ve collected all of these materials, punch a few small drainage holes in the bottom of your bucket.
- Fill the bucket with a layer of sand (this should be the first thing you add), followed by a layer of dirt, and a layer of rocks.
- Once your bucket is full, hang it on a post or a tree--anywhere that it is elevated--and place the second empty bucket underneath it.
- Pour water into the hanging bucket and let it drain into the empty bucket below.
Keep in mind that there’s no guarantee that this method will filter out all negative substances and bacteria in your water source. However, this method does provide you with a safer option than simply drinking straight from a contaminated water source.
In my opinion, it’s best to have multiple water purification options on hand in case of an emergency. This way you can ensure that you’ll be able to provide clean water for yourself and your family in the event that disaster strikes.
Knowledge is power, and clean drinking water is something we simply can’t live without.
Please stay safe, alert, and prepared.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply