Let me make something clear, unless you make an awful lot of bottle stills you are not going to get enough water from this to take a bath. Okay, that said, you can get enough for a decent drink if you prepare well and follow the instructions. I am going to use one bottle as an example, but if you use a garden planter, the trough type that hold plant pots, and set up six at a time which provides a useful amount of drinking water.
Solar stills work by evaporating organic matter that contains moisture. The condensation formed by the process of evaporation is clean, regardless of what the organic matter was that started the process. You can put whatever you like into the tin, dirty water, plant material,urine or even faeces. All of them will provide you with water in differing amounts. The wetter the stuff you put in the tin, the more water you get back. So muddy water will give a higher return than grass clippings, urine more than faeces and so on.
Right, let’s do it. Decide where you are going to put your still, a sound surface is best, you don.t want to lose your precious water because the set up falls over. As the name suggests placing it in a sunny spot will work best.
Listen carefully, it’s very complicated…
- Cut the bottom off the bottle.
- Place a small tin with whatever you are using to evaporate in a bowl.
- Stand the bottle, top still on, over the tin.
There you go, that’s it.
The most important thing about this is that whatever you are evaporating should not come into contact with the inside of the bottle, if it does you will contaminate your clean water as it runs down the inside if the still.
Sadly, unless you have a huge amount of them these solar stills will never provide enough water for our needs, but in a crisis situation, knowing how to turn your bodily waste into a couple of mouthfuls of water could be a life saver.
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Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic.
Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.