Top 10 Ways to Purify Water

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‘Water’- the universal solvent that is crucial for LIFE, needs to be clean and free of contamination before you can drink it; to not just fulfill the thirst, but to stay away from the many water borne illnesses!Clean drinking water is one of the ten essential things we need to survive. The importance of water is best recognized among people who have long been craving for the same. Ask a person lost in the desert dying to get water or a solo hiker who got stranded in the wilderness by getting separated from the group, these are people who will tell you that what living in the absence of clean drinking water is all about. Sometimes the water which is supplied for drinking is not fit enough to drink. And it’s especially true in a survival situation. Having access to a filter or chemicals that can help you in purifying water is not always possible. So, what do you think can help you survive the odds? It’s the simple water purification methods that can help in converting water to a drinkable state. Especially in the third world countries not every person has access to clean drinking water. So, what do people here do? They follow some simple methods that do not make use of some sophisticated technique or rare, costly chemicals. India being no different has many such people who follow these methods in their day to day life. So, let’s take a quick tour of the first ten of such methods.

10. Moringa seeds can help in purifying water

Native to the foothills of Himalayas, Moringa is a plant that is found easily there. This is described as the last method because of the limited availability. The method involves using crushed seeds that helps in lowering bacterial concentration in water thus turning the same safe for drinking. The Moringa seed powder available at stores has been used since long to clean dirty water from the river. This works by combining with the solid impurities in water and sinking to the bottom. The method is known to have 90-99% efficiency in removing bacterial contamination from water. Used mostly by people in north India, if promoted rightly this may gain fame in the other parts too.

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9. Potassium permanganate; the emergency measure to disinfect water

Potassium permanganate, a very common chemical you must have seen in your chemistry lab, is the ninth one on the list, as it’s not something you can rely on always to fumigate water. This pink colored compound is added to water which makes the same slightly pink in color and then the water is allowed to stand for at least 30-40 minutes, before which it is not safe to drink. Remember, it’s a method which should be used only when anything else is not available. So, avoid carrying this chemical, just in case you are planning a leisure trip soon and use it only when it’s the ONLY thing available.

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8. Use household bleach; a water disinfectant that can work efficiently

The common household liquid bleach that contains permissible quantity of sodium chloride is also used in many Indian homes commonly to purify water and free the same from microorganisms. This eight method on the list is used, but not by many people. Also, it’s advised not to use bleach that is scented, has solvents and is color safe. Using bleach which does not contain chlorine is also useless. In this method the liquid bleach is dropped in water depending upon the amount you would like to purify and then the water is stirred and allowed to sit for 30 minutes. Another chemical that works similar as household bleach is granular calcium hypochlorite. The recommended amount is 1 part in every 100 parts of water.

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7. Desalination- especially handy for people living near the coastline

Water which contains salt in less than 1,000 ppm amount is considered safe for drinking, but people near the ocean do not have access to such water. Also, true for all living in the coastline of India, for these people is the method desalination, which as the name suggests is basically used for removing salt from water. The method is still not so popular in India which is considered to be the top producers of desalinated water in Asia, which is why it ranks seventh on the list. Many methods are used for removing excess salt from water but most common is reverse osmosis where water is passed through a very fine cloth that acts like a sieving membrane and removes the larger particles. But, as everything has some setbacks, this method too is limited. The more advanced methods used are electrodialysis, thermal distillation, multistage flash distillation, which are not so acceptable ones and still need time to get popular among Indians.

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6. Chlorine water treatment; the most reliable method of treating water easily

Good things come to those who wait; stands particularly true for this one on the list-‘Chlorine’, the sixth method. Touted to be the most popular and reliable method of disinfecting water is used not just at homes but even at the community water treatment plants at most places in India to make water drinkable even before it can enter your home water supply. This is particularly effective in killing bacteria and the only precaution needed is to consider thoroughly the advisable quantity, before dropping in your water pot and to wait for 20-30 minutes after adding to make it rather safe for drinking while nullifying, if any, effects of the chemical chlorine.

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5. Water purification tablets- an inexpensive way of purifying water

Another common method used among Indians for disinfecting water is purification drops and tablets, ranked fifth on the list. Although simple and inexpensive, but what makes it less likely is the changed taste of water after treatment, which is actually considered a ‘tasteless solvent’. In this method a couple of tablets or purification drops are dropped in the water and the same is allowed to stand for at least 20 minutes before consumption. These days seeing the taste change issue many powdered mixes have been introduced that help in covering the leftover taste of the chemical. The most common chemical used in this method is Iodine. Also, remember this method is something you should not opt if the one using includes a pregnant woman or a feeding mother.

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4. Traditional methods used for treating water

In India, many rural communities now rely on the use of simple, rudimentary methods that help in filtering out the visible impurities from water. The fourth most used method, it makes use of different types of filters in order to obtain water which people here consider drinkable. Either a winnowing sieve is used through which is run the water to be filtered, once or twice. Also, a cloth, mostly a muslin one, is used which helps in keeping back the particles and filtering water. Use of clay vessels or what is called “matka” is also known; here many people believe that just storing water in these vessels leads to the same getting filtered within few hours due to the clay’s porous structure.

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3. Portable water filters are the affordable way to purify water easily

Not everyone out there can afford an electric filter that is not just costlier but requires a constant supply of electricity to keep delivering pure water. This is what led to the increase in demand of portable water fliers, which are touted to be the third most popular method to get clean drinking water. These water filters are very small in size which makes them convenient to be taken along wherever you go. If bought from a trusted brand these water filters can easily offer service for a span of five years or even more. It’s the battery-free, chemical free, portable way of keeping your supply of clean water going always. These filters are being used in many households in rural India to help people here get access to one of the most crucial necessity of life- WATER.

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2. Try solar sterilization; the tested way to effectively purify water

Solar sterilization, the second most popular method used for sterilizing water makes use of the sunlight to disinfect this universal solvent. In this method there is no equipment needed and the water is simply kept in the sun for at least 6 hours, the time may however differ and exceed if the day is a cloudy one. In here, the UV radiation enters the bottle or container carrying water and kills the microbes that can trigger ailments like diarrhea and more. Often abbreviated as SODIS the Solar Water Disinfection method is used by many people living in the villages and especially when a natural calamity occurs and the situation is still getting under control.

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1. Try boiling; the age old method of purifying water

Boiling often touted to be the traditional method of purifying water is the top choice for being so popular and easy. What you need is a pot and fire and of course water to get started. Boiling is considered to be the foolproof method that can never go wrong, even doctors suggest it when your digestive system is not working up to its mark. The most common problem you may face when boiling water is in the sweltering summers, when nobody likes to drink it hot, so, you too may face the same issue. But, most hikers in the survival situation have managed to keep the supply of clean, drinking water going by using boiling and it’s no doubt that many households in India, especially in the rural part, rely on this method to purifying water and to keep the many water borne diseases at bay.

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Conclusion

The bottom lineWe guess you have now had your bases covered and are ready to purify water in case you get trapped in a survival situation or just because you are visiting your grandma at the village. Don’t worry even if your RO filter is not there with you, but still the above methods can help in keeping your supply of clean water going. So, happy drinking!

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