Cool Clear Water by Jerry Dupree
How much to bring, how to carry it, keep it cool, purify it and how to use it wisely
We live on “the water planet” and depend on it for everything to support life. We need to expand on the adage of “you don’t cross the desert without water” to include “don’t go anywhere without water.” The right amount includes everyone traveling with you and I like to have two gallons per person per day for drinking and keeping clean. You should also bring at least three gallons for your vehicle in case it over heats, breaks a hose, or the radiator develops a leak.
There are a lot of different containers for bringing water. I have had five gallon plastic water containers that are flexible, but they inevitably fail and leak the contents. I have carried three gallon water jugs like the ones used in home or office water coolers which bounce around on bumpy roads until they too will develop splits and leaks. I recently bought some military style“Jerry Cans.” During WWII the British army serving in the Middle East were using fuel containers that had a habit of bursting at the wrong time and losing their contents. They learned from captured German “Jerries” that their fuel containers were superior and the “Tommies” revised their design to equal the “Jerry” cans. I place foam padding under and around the water containers and tie them together to prevent damage from banging together while under way over bumps.
We store 80 gallons of water at home for emergency use in case of a natural disaster. Yes, they have floods in the desert and there are also destructive earthquakes. (The Big One). I researched the Internet and found a water purifier that will purify water at 2 quarts per minute and the filter cartridges will purify 800 gallons each. I have four filters and we can produce drinking water from our swimming pool in an emergency. It will filter .04 microns of bacteria, viruses, giardia, crypstopordia, parasitic cysts, odors, colors, sediment, and foul tastes. That is according to the instructions in the box. It would be nice to be prepared in an emergency. Think of the people living in th
Carolinas following hurricane Florence. Their water supply will be contaminated with every form of water borne illness producing pollutants and micro organisms.
All of the water we carry in our vehicle is pure and safe to drink whetherit is packed for drinking purposes or for the vehicle cooling system. We have a 24 qt. ice chest in the back seat. I freeze a one gallon jug (leaving room for expansion) and cool water bottles in the refrigerator before packing up for a trip. I carry more water than I think is necessary for several reasons. I have given bottles of water to people who didn’t bring any or those I have rescued from being stuck in sand, etc. The temperature of the water will stay cool longer if the ice chest is full. I prefer the 24 oz. bottles because they are a convenient size and fit the cup holders. I like to write names on a piece of masking tape and wrap it around the bottle to identify who’s bottle it is. The basic rule in driving around the desert is to drink water before you get thirsty and sip it often. Drinking a large quantity of ice water will cause cramps. After I park and before I put on my pack I drink between 8 to 12 oz. of water. I bring three bottles in my pack, which means I have a one bottle reserve. I am out hiking and doing wildlife photography one day a week. It takes considerable effort to find good locations for
photography. I need to be near game trails and away from having my cameras discovered by people.
There are other ways to purify water. They make purification tablets, but I am told the water does not taste good. I have heard that leaving a plastic water bottle in the sun will kill any water borne organisms. Boiling water may be the best solution if you don’t have a better way at the moment.
It is possible to make a solar still of a sheet of plastic. Find a dry river bed, preferably with green trees or shrubs to indicate the presence of water beneath the surface. Dig a hole a little smaller than the size of the sheet plastic. Place a bottle or can in the center and stretch the plastic over the hole and place a heavy rock in the corners and around the edges. Place a rock heavy enough to be over the can or bottle but not touching it. The moisture will collect by evaporation and run down and drip into the can or bottle. We succeeded in building and using solar stills in the Boy Scouts, but the water we collected would not be enough to sustain your bodily needs. It will at least give you something to do while waiting to be rescued.
Before launching the 1967 Six Day War, the Israeli army provided each soldier with 6 liters of water prior to engaging their adversaries. It was as important as ammunition and kept as near to the army, and was a definite factor in their success against their enemies (according to the History Channel).
The best way to conserve water is to plan for your needs and to not waste any. Good planning and conservation adds a lot to your enjoyment. ~ Jerry