At the outset, it is good to say that a river or stream is never a 100% safe water source. Although especially rivers and streams in the forgotten parts of Mother Earth are commonly used for direct drinking, it is always at your own risk. But who would resist the cool clear water from an alpine stream, a Norwegian waterfall, a Siberian river or an Ore Mountain stream? But we never know what he is hiding upstream. Whether there is a dead chamois, a field fertilized with slurry or a flock of sheep. So here are some tips for choosing the right water source.
The higher the better?
The truth is that water from mountain rivers, streams or streams flowing down the rocks is always of the highest quality and in many cases suitable for immediate consumption. With increasing altitude, the possibility of pollution decreases. In mountainous areas, there is also virtually zero possibility of chemical degradation of water by humans. It is more important to look after biological factors. The best water is above the upper border of the forest, in areas where cattle and streams do not graze intensively, or the river flows freely through the riverbed. Streams in mountain areas also usually do not have underground resources and the water in them comes exclusively from melting snow fields and glaciers. But you better avoid drinking water for a long time right at the foot of the glacier. It is mostly clean, but strongly demineralized. He collects valuable minerals on the way to the valley through the rocks.
Subsoil and bottom
You can always get safer water from streams that have rocky or sandy bottoms. Fish can live well in such an environment, but various bacteria and aquatic plants do less well, and their decomposing parts can pollute the water. If you already have to draw water from a muddy bottom, do so only in the greatest emergency.
Geographical zone, temperature and local customs
In the tropical belt, completely different rules apply for obtaining drinking water from rivers than in our extremities, or higher in the northern hemisphere. Thanks to the low temperatures, one of the remote Siberian highlands is certainly a more suitable source of water than the pure-looking stream in Senegal, which can be a source of many parasites. But beware! Even at high altitudes in Asia, do not believe endlessly at night frosts and rocky riverbeds. Hygienic standards in Nepal or India are still a long way from our customs, and a small stream in the Himalayan valley can bother you pretty much later.
The most important principles for obtaining water from rivers and streams
Bigger is not better – if you have the opportunity to choose between a seemingly clear river or a similar-looking but smaller tributary – choose a tributary. The smaller water flow is shorter and thanks to that the possibility of its pollution is reduced.
Upstream control – the most important thing you need to do before drawing water from a river. Walk a few hundred meters upstream and notice the appearance of the water and the riverbed. A little above you can be a bay full of stagnant water and bacteria, which then slowly flows to the place where you want to fill the bottle. Also pay attention to unnatural phenomena, such as foam or dead fish.
Selecting a place to pick up. Choose a place where the water flows quickly, preferably on a straight section of a river or stream. Do not take water in ponds and meanders. In the case of a larger water flow, it is better to pick it up a short distance from the shore, where sediments accumulate. Also note the suspicious turbidity of water or oil stains on the surface.
Control of life in the river – the presence of fish or other animals is one of the indicators of a healthy water flow. Each major watercourse has a spring, an upper stream, a middle stream, a lower stream and an estuary. The individual parts of the rivers thus differ from each other in the content of oxygen and nutrients (biological material). It logically follows that the best quality drinking water is where fish live, the most demanding in terms of water purity. In the upper sections of the rivers, where there are many rapids and the water is richly oxygenated, so live brown trout, or rainbow trout a little lower, they are, for example, grayling and perch. On the other hand, bream, roach, carp and other species are less demanding on water purity.
Observe other bio ‚bioindicators -‚ – the assessment of water quality can also be determined according to the so-called bioindicators. These are plants or animals that are very demanding on the quality of the aquatic environment. These are, for example, some species of mayflies. A well-known animal indicating the purity of the water is also our most famous crustacean – crayfish. It should be added that these animals, however, rather signal that the water is purely chemically, but certainly not biologically.
Be distrustful – if you are not pressed for time, or you are literally not dying of thirst, take every river or stream as potentially dangerous for direct drinking. Therefore, adjust the water so that it fills in your missing water deficit and does not cause even greater dehydration due to diarrhea or vomiting. And the following point is related to this…
Filter – nowadays there are a lot of filters and water purifiers that will create enough drinking water in a few minutes. Whether they are various products with a ceramic insert or nanofibers, through which you can drink river water directly