from Survival Blog:
There is the rule of threes for survival, which says you can go three minutes without air before you’re dead, three days without water, and three weeks without food. That’s not exact science, of course, and there are variables. Someone in great shape can last longer, and a moderate climate will let you go longer without water. In my part of the world, it gets really hot in the summer, and I suspect three days might be optimistic. Luckily, down here in the southeast, it rains a lot, especially in the summer. There is also a lot of standing water, even during the dry season. The problem with standing water is what’s in it. I don’t know about you, but the thought of drinking diluted duck poop is not a good one. In a crisis situation, there will probably also be people poop getting into the water, and that is far worse than duck poop. There is also a lot of road runoff filled with tire scrapings and oil drippings from cars.
So, what is there to do? I have been worrying about this for years, and that led me to store a bunch of water. However, that is going to run out faster than I would like. I also store pool shock, also known as calcium hypochlorite. With this white powder, you can make a lot of liquid chlorine, and chlorine will make water safe from disease-causing bugs. Don’t forget that if you decide to store some, it is highly corrosive. I have rusty tools to prove it. It is best stored outside, well away from anything you care about. The plastic bags it usually comes in also deteriorate, so you have to replace it every couple of years. You can use it to make enough bleach to whiten everything you own several times over, or if you have a pool you can use it for its intended purpose. When you buy pool shock, be sure you get the stuff that has nothing but calcium hypochlorite in it. Some have extra chemicals that make pools nicer, but you might not want to drink those additives. Drinking chlorine also has some drawbacks for me. I’m not crazy about absorbing chemicals, and the stuff tastes bad. You can, at least, let it sit for a while and the chlorine will diminish.
Another option is something called SODIS, which stands for solar water disinfection. I don’t know why there isn’t a W in SODIS, but I think the UN might have been involved in spreading the program. The idea is that if you put nasty water into the right sized clear polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and set them in the sun for six or so hours, the combination of heat and ultraviolet light will pretty much kill all the bad stuff. The bottle must be made of a material that passes UV light, and the clear PET bottles that most bottled water arrives in works just fine. A lot of glass will stop UV, and any color in the bottle is bad. If the bottles get scratched or discolored, they won’t work well, either. I do recognize that many dislike drinking from plastic bottles, especially when they are heated. This is an equation of balancing competing harms, I’m afraid. I don’t like drinking from plastic either, but it beats getting sick immediately.
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