What You Should Know About Drinking Flood Water in a Survival Situation

Malton, United Kingdom - November 27, 2012: Young family being rescued by the fire service after the River Derwent burst it's banks in the village of Old Malton in North Yorkshire in northeast England.

What is the best method to clean flood water and make it drinkable in a survival situation?

• Use water filter
• Distill the water
• 1 hour boil
• It’s not drinkable

Answer: It’s Not Drinkable

Flood water is not drinkable. Here’s why…

Imagine you haven’t drank water in 2 days and you’re surrounded by flood waters for miles. You witness people dying of dehydration and there doesn’t seem to be any help arriving anytime soon.


Do you risk drinking the flood water to survive? Would you have your children drink flood water to survive? These were questions victims of Hurricane Katrina contemplated in the aftermath of the storm that killed over 1800 people.

Flood waters contain much more harmful bacteria and pollutants than what you would find in other water sources like streams, ponds, or lakes. While boiling water and using a personal water filtration system would work for these sources, it wouldn’t help in flood waters because it may be contaminated with toxic industrial chemicals.

Sure, maybe drinking a little gas in your water won’t hurt you right away, but it can have long lasting effects. It would probably cause vomiting which would quicken the dehydration process leaving you feeling both thirsty and sick.

We’re not saying flood water can’t be cleaned or filtered but, you need to have the right equipment and knowledge to clean it. Unless you’re very well-versed in these methods, attempting them in a situation where it’s already difficult for emergency services to get to you is just foolhardy.


Your best defense is preparation. Have a clean emergency water source and do your best to stay away from drinking flood water. As soon as you get any indication that you may have to deal with flooding, immediately begin filling containers with clean water. That includes the bathtub, sinks, and basically anything that will hold water. Use non-sterile containers for things like flushing rather than for drinking.

~To Your Survival!

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