Water purification can help keep you from swallowing harmful organisms and contracting a water-borne illness. We must all stay hydrated, just make sure that what you are drinking doesn't kill you (or make you wish it had). In days of yore, people drank wine because most of the water was unfit to drink. The alcohol in the wine or, grog, was the purifying agent. With today's knowledge of purification, we have a lot more choices.
Water purification methods include:
Boiling water (rolling boil) for at least 5-8 minutes will rid it of any harmful organisms and bacteria. After boiling, your water may taste flat. Aeration by pouring it back and forth between two containers will make it more palatable, or you could just try stirring it.
Once the water reaches a temperature of 160F, it begins to kill harmful bacteria. Since boiling occurrs at 212F, you only need to hold it at a boil for five to eight minutes.
Distilling water is an extreme water purification method but may sometimes be necessary to obtain potable water.
Make sure your canteen and all other water containers are clean.
Don't unthinkingly contaminate your potable water containers. Even a little contaminated water can ruin your entire drinkable supply.
Swamp water (or any found water) can be sweetened and purified in one step by dropping a few fragments of charred hardwood from your campfire into the boiling water. After boiling for about fifteen minutes, either let the foreign matter settle, skim it off, or strain it through a clean cloth.
Note: At higher altitudes, water boils at a much cooler temperature, so you will actually need to boil it at least five minutes longer.
The only cost for this method of water purification is time and effort. If you don't have any commercial purifying equipment or chemicals, this may be your only recourse in a survival situation.
Most water purification treatments only require 30 minutes on average to work, however, some of them may require 3-4 hours. Very cold water (less than 40 degrees F) should be allowed to sit for at least two hours, or be treated with a double dose. Be sure to closely follow any instructions on the product you choose and remember that all chemical treatments only kill living organisms. This method will not remove chemicals or heavy metals. Water purification is a serious issue.