Clean water is critical to your health. Adults need to drink at least 8 glasses (2 ltr) of clean water every day. Water from rivers, streams, dams and lakes may contain small creatures such as water snails, worm eggs and other germs. Dirty water is a major cause of illness in Kenya. It can cause stomach and intestine problems such as dysentery and diarrhoea which can make you very sick and possibly even kill you. Because of this, it is ABSOLUTELY VITAL to make sure you drink, cook and clean food and utensils with clean water.
Water for human consumption should come from a protected source. This means piped water in towns or water from a borehole or protected well. Where boreholes or protected wells are not available, water drawn from rivers or streams should be filtered and then treated.
If water is not clear, filter it first. Having done so, and the water is clear, you must treat it to make it clean.
Three Bucket Method
- Once you have collected the water, filter it through a clean cotton cloth as you pour it into the buckets.
- Fill 3 buckets with water, cover each with a lid and leave them to sit for 3 days. This allows dust to settle to the bottom and gives enough time for most bacteria to die off.
- After you have used one bucket, re-fill it and let it sit for 3 days before using the water. In the meantime you can drink the water from the second bucket.
Remember that you cannot clean brown or dirty water – you must filter it first.
You must always store clean water in clean containers. This means washing the container with soap and boiled water before putting in clean water. Always have a cover or lid for the container in which you are storing cleaned or treated water.
There are a few methods you can use to treat water that is clear but not clean:
This is the safest method of making sure drinking water is clean and safe to drink.
- Boil the water rapidly for at least 5 minutes before removing it from the heat.
- Allow water to cool before storing it.
- Make a stock solution by pouring 1 cup of bleach (250 ml) into 1 ltr of clean water. Stir well before storing in an airtight, covered container in a cool place. You can only keep this for a month before you need to make a new supply.
- When you want to drink any clear water, put 3 drops of stock solution into 1 ltr of the water that you want to drink.
- Stir the water well and leave it to stand for 30 minutes before drinking.
- Always keep bleach and stock out of children’s reach.
- Take a transparent (clear) glass or plastic bottle (a 2 ltr bottle is perfect) that has been cleaned using boiled water and soap.
- Half fill this bottle with water. Shake the bottle vigorously for at least 30 seconds to ensure there is plenty of air in the water.
- Pour more water into the bottle until it is full, then put on the lid.
- Place the bottle on its side in a place that gets full sun for the whole day. If the sun moves, then move the bottle so it stays in the sun. Leave the bottle in the sun for at least 5 hours.
- After the water has been in full sunlight for at least 5 hours the sun’s rays will have killed off most of the germs and it is now safe to drink once it has cooled.