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Is Desert Water Safe?

How should you purify water in the desert, since it is often high in heavy metals?

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Question:

I’m researching water treatment for desert backpacks. All desert water is very questionable since it often contains heavy metals and mine runoff. Any suggestions on how I should purify it?

Submitted by – Michael, San Carlos, CA

Answer:

I have no guarantees, but high-quality water filters with an activated charcoal element will remove quite a bit of heavy metal and other contaminants. I also recommend contacting local land management agencies specific to the areas where you’ll be hiking to get their recommendations. In some areas you might be limited to the water you can carry. —Buck