So you’re thinking about what you would do if your water supply runs out. It’s certainly a daunting thought, but luckily there are a few methods you can use to purify water and make it safe to drink. In this article, we’ll go over some of the best ways to purify water and ensure that you have access to clean drinking water, even in emergencies. So let’s get started!

When your water supply runs out, it’s important to know how to purify water from alternative sources. One method you can use is boiling. Boiling water for at least one minute can kill most types of bacteria and parasites, making it safe to drink. Another option is using water purification tablets or drops, which contain chemicals that can kill harmful microorganisms. You simply add the tablets or drops to the water and wait for the specified time before drinking.

If you’re in a survival situation and don’t have access to boiling water or purification tablets, you can use a portable water filter. These filters can remove bacteria, parasites, and other contaminants from water sources like rivers or ponds. They work by passing water through a series of filters, usually made of activated carbon and hollow fibers, which trap the harmful particles. Portable water filters are compact and easy to use, making them a great option for emergencies or outdoor activities.

In conclusion, knowing how to purify water when your supply runs out is crucial for your health and well-being. Whether you choose to boil your water, use purification tablets, or invest in a portable water filter, having access to clean drinking water is essential. So make sure to read the full article to learn more about these methods and stay prepared for any situation. Stay safe and hydrated!

Methods of Water Purification

In times of emergency or when your regular water supply is not available, it is crucial to know how to purify water to make it safe for drinking. There are several methods of water purification that you can use to ensure that the water you consume is free from harmful contaminants. In this article, we will discuss some of the most commonly used methods, including boiling, chemical disinfection, filtration, distillation, and solar disinfection.


Boiling is one of the simplest and most effective methods of water purification. When you boil water, the heat kills most types of bacteria, viruses, and parasites that may be present. To effectively purify water through boiling, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a pot or kettle with water from a reliable source, making sure to leave some space for the water to boil.
  2. Heat the water until it reaches a rolling boil.
  3. Allow the water to boil for at least one minute, or three minutes if you live at a high altitude.
  4. After boiling, let the water cool down before drinking.
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Boiling water not only eliminates harmful microorganisms but also reduces the risk of waterborne diseases. However, it is important to note that boiling does not remove chemical contaminants, so it may not be effective in situations where the water is contaminated with chemicals.

Chemical Disinfection

Chemical disinfection involves using substances such as chlorine or iodine to kill microorganisms in water. These disinfectants are readily available and can be used to treat water on a small scale. Here’s how to use chlorine or iodine for water disinfection:

  1. Read the instructions and follow the recommended dosage for your chosen disinfectant.
  2. Mix the disinfectant thoroughly with the water and let it sit for the prescribed contact time.
  3. After the contact time, the water should have a slight chlorine or iodine odor. If not, repeat the process.
  4. Allow the treated water to stand for at least 30 minutes before consuming.

Chemical disinfection is an effective method for purifying water, as it can kill a wide range of microorganisms. However, it may not be suitable for individuals with iodine or chlorine allergies. Additionally, chemical disinfection does not remove sediment or other particles from the water.


Filtration is another popular method of water purification, especially for removing suspended particles and sediments. There are various types of filters available, including activated carbon filters, ceramic filters, and reverse osmosis filters. Each type has its own filtration mechanism and level of effectiveness.

To purify water through filtration, follow these general steps:

  1. Select a suitable filter that meets your needs and the specific contaminants you want to remove.
  2. Install the filter properly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Pour the water through the filter and allow it to pass through the filtration media.
  4. Collect the filtered water in a clean container for consumption.

Filtration is effective in removing particles, bacteria, and some chemicals from water. However, it may not be sufficient to eliminate all types of contaminants, such as viruses, unless the filter is specifically designed for that purpose. Regular maintenance and replacement of filters are also important to ensure optimal performance.


Distillation is a more complex method of water purification that involves heating water to produce steam, which is then condensed and collected as purified water. The distillation process effectively removes contaminants that have higher boiling points than water, such as heavy metals and certain organic compounds.

To purify water through distillation, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a pot with water, leaving some space for the steam to rise.
  2. Place a heat-resistant bowl or container inside the pot, making sure it floats in the water.
  3. Cover the pot with a lid upside-down and bring the water to a boil.
  4. As water vapor rises, it will condense on the inverted lid and drip into the container, leaving behind impurities.
  5. Collect the distilled water in a separate container for consumption.
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Distillation can effectively remove various contaminants, but it requires more time and energy compared to other methods. Additionally, it may remove beneficial minerals from the water, so it is important to consider the overall quality of the water before relying solely on distillation for purification.

Solar Disinfection

Solar disinfection, also known as SODIS, is an environmentally friendly and low-cost method of water disinfection. It involves exposing water to sunlight for a certain period to kill pathogens. Here’s how to perform solar disinfection:

  1. Fill a clear plastic or glass container with water from a reliable source.
  2. Place the container in direct sunlight, ensuring that it is not shaded by any objects.
  3. Leave the container in sunlight for at least six hours on a sunny day, or two consecutive days if the weather is cloudy.
  4. After the required exposure time, the water should appear clearer and have a reduced risk of microbial contamination.
  5. Remember to cover the container securely before consuming the treated water.

Solar disinfection is effective in killing pathogens, mainly due to the combined effects of heat and ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight. However, it does not remove chemicals, sediment, or other physical impurities from the water.

Emergency Water Sources

In emergency situations, it may be necessary to find alternative water sources for purification. Here are some common emergency water sources and how to treat them:

Rainwater Collection

Rainwater can be a valuable source of emergency drinking water, especially in areas with abundant rainfall. To collect and use rainwater, follow these steps:

  1. Set up a clean container or rain barrel to collect rainwater.
  2. Ensure that the collection surface, such as a roof, is clean and free from debris or contaminants.
  3. Collect the rainwater and store it properly in clean, tightly sealed containers.

Rainwater is generally safe for consumption, but it may contain contaminants that have washed off the collection surface. It is recommended to filter or boil rainwater before drinking.

Finding and Treating Natural Water Sources

In some emergency situations, you may need to find and treat water from natural sources such as rivers, lakes, or streams. Here are some guidelines for treating natural water sources:

  1. Locate a flowing water source if possible, as stagnant water can be more prone to contamination.
  2. Clear the water from visible debris and sediment before starting the purification process.
  3. Use the appropriate methods of purification, such as boiling, chemical disinfection, or filtration.

It is important to remember that natural water sources can harbor harmful microorganisms, chemicals, and other contaminants. Treating them properly is essential to ensure safe consumption.

Melting Ice or Snow

In cold climates or during winter emergencies, ice or snow can be melted and used as a water source. Follow these steps to melt and purify ice or snow:

  1. Collect clean snow or ice from a reliable source, away from roads or pollution.
  2. Melt the ice or snow by applying gentle heat or placing it in a container indoors.
  3. After melting, take precautions to purify the resulting water by boiling or using other purification methods.
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While ice or snow may be relatively pure, it can still contain impurities from the environment. Therefore, proper purification is necessary before consuming melted ice or snow.

Water Storage and Conservation

Proper water storage and conservation are vital when dealing with limited or uncertain water supplies. Here are some tips to ensure the safe storage and conservation of water:

Proper Containers for Long-term Storage

Choose containers that are safe for storing water, such as food-grade plastic or glass containers. Avoid using containers that were previously used to store chemicals or non-food substances. Ensure that the containers are clean and tightly sealed to prevent contamination and evaporation.

Tips for Conserving Water

Conserving water is crucial in emergency situations to make the available supply last longer. Some water conservation tips include:

  • Taking shorter showers and minimizing water use while washing dishes or hands.
  • Checking for and fixing any leaks or dripping faucets promptly.
  • Using water-saving appliances and fixtures, such as low-flow showerheads and toilets.
  • Reusing water whenever possible, such as collecting and using graywater for non-potable purposes.

Rotation and Shelf Life of Stored Water

Stored water should be regularly rotated to ensure freshness and prevent bacterial growth. A general guideline is to replace stored water every six months. It is also important to label and date stored water containers to keep track of their shelf life.

Planning and Preparedness

To be prepared for a water shortage or emergency situation, it is essential to have a well-thought-out plan and a water emergency kit. Here are some considerations for planning and preparedness:

Creating an Emergency Water Plan

Develop a comprehensive emergency water plan that outlines the steps to take in different scenarios. Consider factors such as the number of individuals in your household, water needs for cooking and hygiene, and potential water sources in your area.

Calculating Water Needs

Estimate your daily water needs based on the number of individuals and their activities. A general guideline is to allocate at least one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation purposes.

Building a Water Emergency Kit

Prepare a water emergency kit that includes essential items such as containers, water purification methods, and water storage instructions. Include any necessary tools and supplies, such as filters, disinfectants, and water treatment tablets, to ensure you can purify water effectively.


In conclusion, knowing how to purify water is crucial in emergency situations when your regular supply runs out. Boiling, chemical disinfection, filtration, distillation, and solar disinfection are all viable methods for water purification. Each method has its own benefits and limitations, and it is important to consider the specific requirements and contaminants of your water source.

Additionally, understanding how to find and treat alternative water sources, properly store and conserve water, and have a well-prepared plan and emergency water kit will help ensure your safety and well-being during water shortages. By being aware of multiple purification methods and taking the necessary precautions, you can confidently purify water and stay hydrated in emergency situations. Stay prepared and stay safe!

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By Chris Wright

My goals with are to help you prepare your family for every day life as well as the things that pop up like job loss, storm damage, store shortages, etc. The better prepared you are for life, the easier survival becomes. Learn to thrive, not just survive!