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One of the first things a prepper should always have on hand is extra drinking water, but even the most prepared of us might run out at some point and it becomes necessary to replenish our supplies. In this post, we’re going to cover a few of the ways in which we can replenish our water supplies using the environment around us. In this case, we’re going to focus on removing salt from water to make it safe to drink — a process called desalination.

The earth’s water cycle produces fresh drinking water through desalination of sea water. By this same principle, and using some products you can find in your bug out bag or at home, you can replenish your drinking water losses or have a greater supply of drinking water available.

The following desalination process takes about 10 minutes to set up and will require adding salt in order to remove salt. It’s important to note that if you live near an ocean, you can try this experiment with sea water, which is where it becomes useful for your preparation. Simply skip the steps that call for adding salt (sea water has plenty of salt in it already) and follow the same directions. Using the process will yield some drinking water within several hours.

Water shortage, waterfall, water storage and conservation

What You’ll Need

  • Iodized salt (the kind from the grocery store)
  • Bottled drinking water (or tap water if bottled water isn’t available)
  • Heavy ceramic cup or mug
  • Large glass bowl (large enough to fit the cup inside)
  • Plastic cling wrap
  • A rock or small weight
  • Sun

Water filter, filtration systems, non-electric purifiers

Process of Desalination

  1. Pour the drinking water into the cup or mug so that it’s about 1 inch deep.
  2. Mix some of the salt into the water. Add enough so the water tastes salty. Note that if you drink some of the water, make sure to re-add water so it’s at a depth of about 1 inch.
  3. Pour the salted water from the cup into the bowl.
  4. Rinse the cup and dry it, ensuring it’s free of any salt residue.
  5. Place the cup in the center of the bowl.
  6. Cover the bowl top tightly with your plastic cling wrap. Ensure there are no open spots around the rim.
  7. Find a safe and clean place that gets LOTS of sunshine, such as on a window sill. Put the bowl down where it can get the most amount of sun.
  8. Place your rock or weight on top of the plastic wrap, right above the cup. The rock or weight should cause the plastic wrap to sag in the center above the cup. This step is essential to ensuring the water falls into the cup, so make sure it’s right.
  9. Wait several hours.
  10. Water condensation should form on the underside of the plastic wrap. Where you have your rock / weight placed you should see drops of water formed and flowing downward slowly into your cup. Once the cup has some water in it (there will be a small amount) you can pull back the plastic wrap and remove the cup.

Now you can drink the water, as it’s pure and clean, free from any salt. You can repeat this process until you’ve filled your water carrier or water tank. It’s important to note that this process won’t remove the impurities in the water. For that, you’ll need a water filtration system. If you’re hiking or unable to pack a large carrier or tank with you, an emergency filtration bottle can act as both a carrier and filtration device.