Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - SURVIVAL ISSUE -

Even if sewage and wa­ter­de­liv­ery sys­tems are down, there’s of­ten plenty of wa­ter avail­able. Look in build­ings’ plumb­ing sys­tems. Potable wa­ter will be trapped in the pipes, so see if you can lo­cate the re­lease valve. If you can’t find safe wa­ter, Ho­bel sug­gests mak­ing the fol­low­ing sim­ple fil­ter:

1 Burn a fire. When the ashes are cool, grind down the re­sult­ing char­coal un­til it’s a pow­der. The grains should feel like con­fec­tion­ers’ sugar. (Don’t use char­coal from some­one else’s fire. You don’t know if they burned a poi­sonous plant. They also might have peed on it to put it out.)

2 Find some sort of re­cep­ta­cle. An old plas­tic wa­ter bot­tle will do. Cut off the bot­tom of the bot­tle, then use a nail to poke a hole in the cap and screw the cap on the top of the bot­tle. Turn the bot­tle up­side down. Add about 7 cm of pow­dered char­coal to the bot­tle, then add wa­ter.

3 The wa­ter will slowly fil­ter through the char­coal and drip out of the cap. Put a ban­danna or an­other cloth over the hole to fil­ter out any bits of char­coal. (If you’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in­testi­nal dis­tress – and you very well might be, since your body goes into dif­fer­ent kinds of shock in these sit­u­a­tions – eat a lit­tle bit of the char­coal. It’ll help bind you back up.)

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