Urban Survival Water Purification

One of the most basic survival requirements is water.

Every human being needs water to survive, and water is one necessity for urban survival and wilderness survival that you simply cannot carry with you in sufficient quantity.

It is too heavy to carry the amount of drinking water you would need for a long-​​term urban survival situation.

This means that you have to be able to drink water that you find.

While finding sources of water, and collecting water, could be a topic all by itself, the question remains:

How do you make water safe to drink once you have found it?

Urban Survival Water Purification Methods

There are three basic methods for making water safe to drink in an urban survival situation:

  • You can filter the water
  • You can treat the water chemically
  • You can boil the water.

(There is another method in which the sun is used to treat water, but there is really no need to attempt that method when the other three are proven and reliable.)

Filtering Water For Urban Survival

You can physically filter water for urban survival in a number of ways, including making filters from layers of cloth and sand or stones and other materials.

This type of filtering helps to some extent, but does not remove microorganisms that could potentially make you very sick.

To filter out microorganisms, you need an approved, name-​​brand filter bottle, filter straw, or other filtering mechanism manufactured for this purpose.

Chemical Water Purification For Urban Survival

If you don’t have a filter handy, you can still kill many microorganisms using chemicals.
There are multiple water-​​purification chemicals on the market.

Some of the popular “potable aqua” tablets also can be used in conjunction with “neutralizer” tablets to remove the awful chemical taste from the treated water.

While chemically treated water may taste unpleasant, it is far preferable to risking water that may have God-​​knows-​​what swimming around in it.

To chemically treat water, however, you must have some clue as to how much water your available chemical will treat effectively.

Use too much or too little and your water will not be fit or safe to drink.

Boiling Water For Urban Survival

Without a doubt, boiling water is the best means of treating it to make it safe.

To boil water requires that you have the ability to make fire, some means of heating the water (a metal cup or can, for example), and enough fuel for a fire that can bring your water to a boil for a period of several minutes.

The longer you can boil the water, the safer it will be once it finally cools.

Boiling water absolutely kills any microorganisms that might be found.

Just remember, especially when collecting water for urban survival, that all of these methods (except for physical filtering with sand and rocks) are meant to kill living organisms in the water.

They do not remove chemical contaminants, which can be found in drinking water (and are more common in urban survival scenarios).

When you collect your water, make sure you do so as safely as possible.


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Jeff Anderson

Jeff Anderson is a 10 year veteran of the U.S. Army, a Master Fitness Trainer, and Master Instructor of Close Quarters Combat self defense. A full time fitness and self defense author, Jeff has trained thousands of men and women in the practical application of advanced military fitness methods as well as close combat tactics for "real life" self defense.

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