How To Make Saltwater Drinkable
Copyright 2017-18
Featured Video -  Emergency Water Source - Evaporating With A Solar Still
An Example Of Saltwater Distillation Using A Bowl
How To Make Saltwater Drinkable
Never drink seawater. Seawater has a much higher concentration of salt than that found in the body fluids of most animals, including mammals and birds. When seawater is ingested, the osmotic balance of these animals is upset. Mammalian kidneys, in order to flush the body of excess salt, must use one and one-half times as much fresh water as the amount of ingested seawater. Without fresh water, dehydration of body tissues ensues, and in most cases, death follows.

How To Make Saltwater Drinkable
One way is to freeze it. When ice forms it will not have salt in it. You can melt the ice, and you will have pure water. You can also distill the water. This is a simple process. The techniques you use for water distillation can vary according to your location and available supplies, but the idea is the same. You want to turn salty water into a vapor, and then back into a liquid, leaving behind the salt. Water evaporates in the same way from lakes, rivers, and oceans. The water heats up, turns into a gas (or steam), and then condenses to fall back down as rain.

See the blue image at right. In this example, saltwater has been added to a large bowl. A smaller, clean, empty bowl or cup that is taller than the saltwater line has been added in the center. The large bowl is then covered with some type of plastic sheeting, which is secured tightly around the rim so that it doesn't fall in. A small, slightly heavy object (such as a stone) is then placed on top of the plastic in the center, so that the plastic sags to create a dripping point over the cup. Set the whole works in direct sunlight. As the saltwater heats up, it vaporizes, and then condenses on the underside of the plastic sheeting. As it accumulates, gravity rolls it toward the stone and it drips down into the cup. Wha la!

Saltwater distillation can also be done on a larger scale using a variety of means. If you didn't have a cloth to hang over your pot like the image below, you could drape a tarp or garbage bag over the boiling pot and direct the condensation into a container.

What Doesn't Distillation Remove From Water?
According to the CDC, "Distillation Systems use a process of heating water to the boiling point and then collecting the water vapor as it condenses, leaving many of the contaminants behind."

Distillation Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing protozoa (for example, Cryptosporidium, Giardia);

Distillation Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing bacteria (for example, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli);

Distillation Systems have a very high effectiveness in removing viruses (for example, Enteric, Hepatitis A, Norovirus, Rotavirus);

Distillation Systems will remove common chemical contaminants, including arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, nitrate, sodium, sulfate, and many organic chemicals.

Distillation is good to use in an emergency, however, the vapor can take certain synthetic chemicals in the water with it; e.g., those that have a lower boiling point than water. They rise with the steam and are deposited into your cloth or cup, so consider that when you choose a water source for your solar still.

Credit For Content:
Institute For Creation Research
Survival Book - 98.6 The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive - Cody Lundin
University of California - Santa Barbara
CDC - Centers For Disease Control
Here's another way to catch the steam -
This still uses the principal of the "bowl method" from above, only this time the "bowl" is actually a hole dug deep enough in beach sand for water to collect in the bottom of the hole (approx. 5 feet deep). It uses the same principal.  *If you dig far enough away from the saltwater (approx. 50 to 100 feet), you might actually tap into fresh water!
This method can be and is used on small or large scales. Some provide drinking water for whole communities. See the demonstration in the video at right.
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