The folklore that any water a dog will drink is pure enough for his master is false.We have often seen dogs drink from toilets. The same notion for a horse is alsofalse. Smell or lack of it is no guarantee. Sulfurous water stinks horribly, yet it’ssafe to drink boiled or when not polluted.
The fact that natives may assert a water source is pure could indicate they havebuilt up a degree of immunity. To their systems, the water is not tainted(polluted). Even the loneliest wild stream can be infected with Tularemia(commonly called rabbit fever) by wild animals such as muskrats and beavers.Tularemia can also be carried by meadow mice, ground hogs (woodchucks),ground squirrels, tree squirrels, beavers, coyotes, opossums, sheep, and variousgame birds.
Yet taking chances with drinking water in a well-settled community is, in onesense, a lot less dangerous than trying out water in a wilderness away frommedical help.
MAKING SURE IT IS PURE
Water can be rid of germs by boiling. The exact time required to accomplish thisdepends on altitude, the nature of impurity and several other factors. A safegeneral rule is at least 10 minutes, longer is by no means a waste except for fueland it causes the water itself to evaporate.
If there is reasonable doubt water is contaminated, don't take chances even if inhurry. A great deal more inconvenience, discomfort and delay can result fromusing untreated water.
Getting sick takes days, even weeks, before feeling better. Sometimes it resultsin death. This applies to water actually consumed and with equal gravity, to anywater entering the human body.
For example, water in which a toothbrush is dipped, food and utensils arewashed, and water used in cooking (except when kept at high enoughtemperatures for a sufficient time to insure purity) could all be sources fordisease.
NOTE: Boiled water tastes flat. Air and taste can be restored by pouring thecooled water back and forth between two buckets or by shaking it in a partiallyfilled jar or canteen. If in hurry, add a pinch of salt if available.
STAGNANT WATER and POLLUTED WATER
Both can be made safe to drink without equipment. If time permits, such watercan be filtered through a sieve of charcoal. This will both clarify and to a largeextent, purify the water. How much filtering is enough is in question so it is