Week 37 - September 19
This week let’s talk a little about water. It’s free, so store it now, but today we discuss purifying water. You can purchase a water purification alternative and when you can afford it, please do so. Before you purchase consider the following:
Water filter straws. These are relatively inexpensive but have one huge drawback, they are straws. You must use them as a straw purifying only what you can consume at the moment. They do not provide quantities of water for cooking or other uses. They are good for camping or hiking but not for prolonged times when household water is contaminated.
Sports bottles with filtration. These purifiers cost about $40.00 and can hold water to be consumed later. Water can be drunk from the bottle, or the bottle can be turned upside down and squeezed to add filtered water to a cooking pot. They can be easily taken when evacuating. More versatile than a straw but still capable of only small amounts at a time.
Water pitcher with a filter. Pitchers can be purchased for $30 and up. These can be used to filter larger amounts of water but cannot be taken when evacuating.
Countertop systems. Purifiers of this type can cost $250 or much more. These are by far the best solution. They can filter large amounts of water and are easy for children to use when household water is contaminated.
BUT what if you cannot afford any of these right now OR your water becomes unsafe and the neighbors or extended family do not have access to any of these options? Consider SOLIS. SOLIS is a purification method used in third-world countries where water is unsafe.
SODIS is a simple and inexpensive method of purifying water using solar light. SODIS water disinfection needs only plastic bottles, a reflective surface, and sunlight, making this a task you can even delegate to children.
SODIS method steps:
1. Clean clear PET bottles. Get into the practice of storing some of your water in clear plastic juice bottles and you have this covered. Even individual commercial water bottles can be reused for this purpose so do not discard them during an emergency once they are empty.
2. Filter water through a clean cloth or cheesecloth to remove any foreign material, insects, debris, etc.
3. Fill bottles with filtered water and tighten the cap.
4. Place bottles in direct sunlight for at least 6-8 hours if sunny or for two days in cloudy situations. To increase efficiency and water safety place bottles on a reflective, metal surface. A Mylar survival blanket works well for this purpose. (another use for Mylar blankets)
5. Store water in these bottles and drink from the bottle or pour it into a clean cup.
Simple. Be sure you leave the bottle in the sun the entire time as there is never a guarantee that all organisms have been killed. Err on the side of too much sun.
The benefits of SODIS are:
Proven reduction of viruses, bacteria, and protozoa in water
Proven reduction of diarrheal disease incidence in users
Simplicity of use
Water tastes good
Drawbacks of SODIS are:
The need for pretreatment, and filtering water.
Length of time required to treat water
Only small amounts can be purified at one time.
Need to prepare ahead and have bottles and a reflective surface on hand.
Not 100% effective if every step is not completed.
SODIS will not remove chemicals from water so never use this method if you suspect there are any chemicals in your water source.
More information about SODIS is available in your Totally Ready Binder.