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Safety tips for the use of water when spending time outdoors

Water is essential for camping and hiking. Clean drinking water is usually available at South African campgrounds. If your water source is a streams or river, make sure the water is fast-flowing before drinking it. Drinking cool river water from your cupped hands after a long walk in the sun may seem like a good idea, but you cannot guarantee that your next sip is disease- or pollutant-free.

You do need to ensure that you have enough safe drinking water for your camping or hiking trip. Depending on your size, your level of activity and the weather conditions, water intake requirements vary from one person to the next. It is safe to say that most adults need at least 2 litres of water per day.

Even though the water appears to be pure, never consume water straight from a natural source. Even if the water in a stream, river, or dam may appear clean, it could still be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause diseases. You must filter natural water if you want it to be safe. Filtering water to remove big particles and boiling or chemically treating it to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and parasites are two steps in the purification process.

Water Filtration vs. Water Purification

Water filtration
Water filtration is a method of purifying water by eliminating impurities. A physical barrier, biological, or chemical method can be used to filter water. Filtering water removes the murkiness as well as the majority of bacteria and microbial cysts. Water that appears clean is not necessarily safe to drink. It may still include hazardous germs and chemical pollutants that filtration would not eliminate.

Water purification
Purification is the process of removing contaminants and making water fit for human consumption. Compounds like chlorine or iodine are used to remove pollutants like bacteria, viruses, and other compounds from water during the purification process. It’s important to remember that even after filtration, water still needs to be purified before it’s totally safe to drink.

5 Purification Techniques

#1 Boiling
Boiling water is the easiest method of preparing it for drinking. The majority of the dangerous bacteria that cause sickness can be eliminated by boiling the water. When you are at sea level, boiling water for up to one minute will do the trick. However, because of the low atmospheric pressure at higher altitudes, it takes longer for temperatures to increase. Boiling water at higher altitudes should be for three minutes or even more when you are above 1981 metres.

#2 Distillation
Better than boiling, water distillation produces cleaner, safer water. Distillation is easy. You’ll need a large container, a small container for pure water, a plastic bag, and a rock. Dig a hole and place the big container in it. Place the little container in the middle of the bigger container, cover the pit with plastic, and close any opening. Finally, insert the rock in the plastic centre to create a depression above the little container.
Water will evaporate due to internal heat. Water vapour condenses on plastic to produce droplets. Water will flow into the little container due to the depression and drinkable water will be gathered in the little container.

#3 Purification tablets
Effervescent tablets are one of the easiest and most effective ways to get purified water. Usually, a tablet will be used to purify 25 litres of water. More powerful tablets can purify impure water up to 70 litres for a large group. It takes 30 minutes for a tablet to completely get rid of the parasites in the water before you can drink it. Water purification tablets can be iodine or chlorine dioxide-based. However, iodine tablets fail to get rid of Cryptosporidium, whereas Chlorine dioxide tablets tackle this problem for you by destroying a variety of parasites. You will also have to wait about 4 hours before the water gets completely purified and is safe to drink.

#4 Water filters
On a trail, a lightweight water filter is the best option. Water filters remove most parasites with a special filtration technology. A squeeze water filter can also be used. It’s lightweight and easy to carry. You can drink water directly from a river or stream with a squeeze water filter.
Pump water filters use the same technology as drinking filters, but you pump the water through them.
Gravity water filters are useful for large groups. Filter-attached containers gather water and the unfiltered water drips through filters and collects in a container below. Drinkable water is thud gathered without contaminants.

#5 UV ray treatment
This is most likely one of the simplest methods for organically purifying water. All you have to do is put filtered water in glass or plastic bottles and keep them in direct sunlight. All the hazardous parasites will be destroyed by the sun’s UV rays, leaving only clean water behind.
The bottle should be kept for 4 hours on a sunny day and longer on a cloudy day, depending on the weather.

Conclusion

One of the most crucial things to remember whether hiking or camping is to stay hydrated. Even though there won’t be any issues on a brief camping vacation with the family if you use all the water available, you must be aware of efficient techniques to obtain clean water to drink by filtering water from a river or dam.

The above-mentioned water purifying methods are simple and reasonably priced to produce water fit for consumption.

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