Water is literally everywhere. In fact 70% of Earth is covered in water. Unfortunately as much as 96% of this is in the ocean and cannot be consumed unless the salt is removed.
That’s why we rely so heavily on the water cycle. Long dry periods quickly become droughts thanks to the water cycle while heavy rain can result in flooding even after a drought.
Understand The Water Cycle
In fact it is the water cycle that allows water to be filtered naturally. It goes like this:
- Water evaporates from the oceans through the power of the sun’s heat. It leaves the salt and other minerals behind.
- The water condenses when it reaches cooler air and forms clouds.
- The clouds grow larger until the condensed water starts to coalesce; at this point it starts to rain.
Of course this rain doesn’t come straight back onto the sea. The different temperatures of air in the atmosphere cause the clouds to move up and down and along. The air is generally cooler over land which is why you’re more likely to get rain on land.
The rain is pure but it can pick up pollution particles in the air as it falls. Once it hits the ground it travels across the soil, through it and rocks until it reaches a stream or lake. Ultimately it travels back to the ocean; completing the cycle.
The problem is that the soil and rocks are contaminated with bacteria and manmade pollutants. These are picked up by the water which is why we use water treatment plants to cleanse the water before it reaches your home.
The Filtration Process
There are two ways in which nature filters the water.
- Sand & Charcoal
Sand and charcoal is nature’s filter. Water passes through these two compounds but the bacteria and debris attached to the water cannot; they are simply too large to fit.
This is why if you are ever lost in the wild and need clean water it is recommended that you cut the bottom of a plastic bottle off and put some stone in the open lid. Then add charcoal, small stones and sand before pouring your water through.
It will give you clean water.
Interestingly it is this technique which is used in an under sink water filter. The charcoal is aerated which causes it to open thousands of tiny pores; increasing its ability to catch bacteria and debris. This aerated charcoal is called carbon and is used in most water filter systems.
This is a great example of man copying nature.
The heat of the sun evaporates the water from the sea but leaves the minerals behind. This creates pure water; even if it is later contaminated.
You can replicate this by putting water in a small bowl with a dark base. Then place a plastic cover in a dome shape over the top with the edges overlapping the container. Add a second container under the small bowl which will capture the water coming off the plastic.
Out it all in the sun and watch the heat cause the water to evaporate. It condenses when it hits the plastic and rolls down the sides, to collect in the second container.
This is a good way to get pure water but nit an effective system for at home.