Thoughts About Water

No water you die, and painfully.
Not enough water you die slowly and painfully.
Bad water, you get sick and when it weakens you too much, you die slowly and painfully.

Symptoms of dehydration

  • Not Urinating or Very Dark Urine.
  • Dry Skin That Doesn’t Bounce Back When Pinched
  • Rapid Heartbeat, Low Blood Pressure, and Reduced Breathing
    Somewhere around here, without IV treatment, you’ll not recover.
  • Confusion, Dizziness, Lightheartedness, Delirium
  • Fever and Chills
  • Unconsciousness

Unless you choose your source of water carefully,
You’ll either end up ill, irreversibly damaged, or dead.

ALWAYS filter it and ALWAYS treat it to kill off any contagions,
Then store it carefully, drinking as much as you need to avoid thirst.
If you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated!!!

The main errors people make is when they are sourcing water without taking into account what is going on. The main worries are:-

(1) Chemicals. Be they from:-
Military or terrorist chemical weapon
Illegal processing or dumping of liquid waste into a water course.
Farming run off
An industrial accidental or a ‘bad practice’ release.
This could include fires and the products of those fires i.e. asbestos dust.
Natural contaminates which could include:-
Unprocessed oils which could be produced from rotting vegetation or from natural reservoirs.
Gases like Hydrogen Sulfide, Ammonia, Co2 gas.
Elevated levels of Minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, and Arsenic (especially in private water supplies and wells).
Not forgetting Lead, which is NOT a mineral. It is a poisonous element.
Acid rain. Caused by emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which react with the water molecules in the atmosphere to produce acids.

(2) Biological:-
Pathogenic micro-organisms (Giardia, Cryptosporidiosis, aka crypto)
Bacterial diseases like Cholera, Dysentry, leptospirosis (Weils Disease)
Viruses like Norovirus and Hepatitis
Biotoxins, mainly from algae.
In particular the blue/green algae that is widespread in the UK.

(3) Radiological
Dirty Bombs spreading powered nuclear material as particulates that can be carried within water but NOT dissolved in the water.

(4) Nuclear, and the products of a nuclear explosion
Radioactive particulates which emit Alpha, Beta, and Gamma radiation.
Iodine 131 emits two kinds of radiation, Gamma and Beta.
Cesium-137 dissolves easily in water and emits Beta and Gamma radiation.

Alpha particles can only travel a few inches and beta particles around 10 feet. Alpha radiation can be stopped by a single piece of paper but the main danger is when the material is ingested, enters the body through cuts or the wet membranes of the eye, or inhaled. Beta radiation has penetrating capabilities. Heavy clothing, thick cardboard or thin aluminum plate will provide protection from beta radiation. Lead and plastic are also commonly used to shield beta radiation.

Gamma is high energy (harmful) highly penetrating radiation.
Your protection must include a full decontamination of you, and either distancing or thick, dense material shielding between you and the radiation.

The HUGE danger is if you leave radioactive material on your clothing or skin. That is why in ALL CASES OF RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATION, you must wash it off you as fast as possible, including your hair (but don’t use a hair conditioner as the particles will bind to it) and discard any contaminated clothing.

Choice of water sources bearing in mind the CBRN detailed above.

Do not use:
Any uncovered source.
That includes sea water which is usually distilled to get rid if the salt.
Roadside and field drainage,
Dams and reservoirs.
Wells (unless sealed and ONLY if they have not been disturbed).
Caution, if it has rained after the event and before you have arrived, the source must be considered contaminated).
Water down stream from a town, industrial units, or a riverside community.
Any water source if there has been a CBRN event.
If any source emits a chemical or oily smell or foam deposits.
Any source that has a color or ‘hue’.
A lot of turbidity (suspended material within it).
Where no plants or water weed is growing.
Where there are no ‘small fry’ swimming.
It looks stagnant, thick, or has larva swimming in it.
Or mosquitoes “drinking” from it (aka egg laying).
If there are dead plants and animals in or near it.
Or there is loads of algae i.e. it looks green, brown, and feels ‘slimy’.
Any rainfall during or shortly after an ‘event’.
Central heating radiators or car coolant systems as both usually contain chemical additives

Which probably has you thinking,” Is all this caution really necessary??”
Yep, unless you want to die in a survival situation.

Some will be thinking they have a portable water filter so are safe from any dangers. Nope. wrong again. You may be able to filter out biological contamination’s or particulates, but chemicals within the water, including radio-logical material, cannot be easily filtered and that includes the process of distillation .

To that end, the experts use a combination of activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and ion exchange. HOWEVER, the EPA states, “Reverse osmosis does not remove gaseous contaminants such as carbon dioxide and radon.” BUT, I have read that the additional filtering of activated charcoal ‘MAY’ solve that issue.

It’s that word ‘MAY’ that worried me as I live in a world of absolutes regarding survival i.e. it either does or doesn’t.
Yes or no, and maybe doesn’t come into it.

Paul’s choice of water sources when foraging.
Sealed containers aka bottled water, COVERED Hot water tanks (remembering to turn the SUPPLY OFF into the tank while you empty it. Toilet cisterns that do NOT have an overflow pipe venting into the outside air or have those stupid blue water tabs in the cistern. Bathtubs that were carefully covered with an impermeable material BEFORE the event. Distilled beers. What? Although alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water boils, SEALED beers can be distilled to make a useful amount of safe water.

Is that it? Pretty much.

Finally, a few notes on water purification of NON CBRN contaminated water.

Best way IMHO is a rolling boil for (officially) ONE MINUTE OR THREE MINUTES IF THE ALTITUDE IS OVER 2000 METERS. Me? I always boil for 5 minutes.
Then let it cool naturally, preferably covered.
This will kill bacterial, parasitic, and viral causes of diarrhoea.
Adding a pinch of salt to a liter will improve the taste.

Reverse osmosis filters guard against cysts like Crypto and Giardia.
Fine ceramic filters whose ABSOLUTE FILTER SIZE is less than ONE MICRON can filter out Crypto and Giardia. I use gravity ceramic filters

Bleach and Iodine will kill most bacteria and viruses BUT NOT cysts like Crypto and Giardia. The following information is for information purposes only and comes with a caution.


Domestic Bleach off the shelf. (5%)
Useful life is only 6 months open or not.
Use plain non scented, non thickened, household Sodium hypochlorite bleach to the following Dilution.

8 Drops per 2 Liters of water and stand for 30 mins.
It must smell of Chlorine at the end of that time.

If it does not, repeat the dose and leave for a further 15 minutes.

If it does not, either the water is bad OR THE BLEACH HAS LOST IT’S POTENCY.

You have no choice now, start again from a different water source. Remember liquid bleach only has a life of 6 months whether you have used it or not. Solid bleach (Clorox) lasts longer.

Stir and let stand for 30 minutes.
The water should have a slight chlorine odor. If it doesn’t, repeat the dosage and let stand for another 15 minutes before use.

You can add a pinch of salt to improve the taste.

Tincture or Topical solutions of Iodine (2.4% solution)
Note:- 20 drops = 1 ml
Use To the following Dilutions
5 drops to 1 Liter of warm clear water.
10 drops to 1 Liter of Cloudy water

Allow the water to stand for:
30 mins. if the water temperature is 25 Celsius
1 hour if the water temperature is 15 Celsius
2 hours if the water temperature is 5 Celsius
Add a soluble Vitamin C tablet to counter the taste AFTER the standing time.

Iodine is NOT recommended for pregnant women, people with thyroid problems, those with known hypersensitivity to iodine, or continuous use for more than a few weeks at a time.

Water purification tablets.
Don’t mess about, follow the instructions to the letter BUT be careful as water that is too cool or hot may not purify within the stated times.

Pool Shock.
Follow these instructions to the letter!

  • Fill a lidded water container with EXACTLY ONE (1) Gallon of water.
  • Measure out 1 level (NOT heaped) teaspoon of pool shock and add it to the water.
  • Put on the cap and swish it around to mix thoroughly. DO NOT shake.
    When done correctly, it should smell like standard household bleach.


To use this solution to purify drinking water,
1 part chlorine solution to 100 parts water.

If the water bottle holds 1 liter (1000ml), /100, equals 10ml of bleach
If the water bottle holds 1 liter (1000ml), /100, equals 200 drops of bleach
If the water bottle holds 1 liter (1000ml), /100, equals approx 1.5 UK teaspoons of bleach
If the water bottle holds 1 liter (1000ml), /100, equals approx 2.0 US teaspoons of bleach

Again, stir in the solution as above and let it stand for 30 minutes.
The water should have a slight chlorine odor.
If it doesn’t, repeat the dosage and let stand for another 15 minutes before use.
If it still doesn’t smell of chlorine, the bleach is NO GOOD!

I have no firm information about varying the dose for cloudy water.
Best cure for that is filtering (I use a clean sock or gold coffee filter), and let it stand for an hour (preferably overnight, until the cloudiness clears. Then carefully decant it to a clean bottle, THEN PURIFY IT. However, If it doesn’t clear, that would indicate chemicals so try to find another source.