World Water Day Five ways to purify your water

On the 2016 World Water Day, why not try purify your own water? You will save on buying sachet or bottled water, which in turn will help Ghana's environment.

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play Women carrying water. There are many ways to purify water to ensure it is healthy to drink (File)
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The water quality varies drastically throughout Ghana.

Whether you are getting it from boreholes or it runs freely from your tap – drinking it unfiltered can be risky.

While some can do this and not have any problems, to be certain you kill any parasites or diseases that may be hidden in your water, there are a number of ways you can purify it to ensure you are drinking clean water.

Look around you and you will see the landscape and drains are littered with plastic bottles or water sachets, so to save on buying them, use your normal water source but filter it before drinking.

Here's how:


The easiest and cheapest way to purify your water is by simply boiling it.

You can do this on your cooker, over a charcoal burner or even in a kettle.

The general rule is to make sure you boil it - as in seeing the bubbles come to the top – for at least a minute, up to five to ensure you kill all the nasty things lurking in it.

Once you have boiled it long enough, leave it to cool with a lid on it, then when cool transfer to your fridge or a cool place.

UV lights

There are also inventive UV lights that kill germs in the water, usually they are a hand-held device you place on top of your bottle, with the UV light stick in the water. You push a button and wait for the light to come on to show the device is working, then when it is done the light colour will change or flash.

The UV light kills bacteria in the water, but does not filter it out, however this doesn't matter as they are dead anyway.


Another easy and cheap way to clean your water is through purification drops, while they may alter the taste of the water, it's better to be safe, right?

You can ask at your local supermarket, pharmacy or even department stores like Game for these.

Usually you will get iodine or chlorine tablets, they will kill the bacteria in your water. Pregnant women, women over 50 and those with thyroid problems are advised to check with their doctor before taking them.

Follow the instructions on the packet for the quantities.


Grab your household bleach, check what it's made of - you'll find Sodium Hypochlorite is the active ingredient in common household bleach.

As outdoor site Willow Haven finds, most 'off-the-shelf’ bleach products will contain in between 4 and 6% chlorine but read the label to make sure.

To purify your water, use regular, unscented  bleach. The chlorine content of the bleach will determine how much to use. According to a US government site, five  drops of bleach for one liter of water will work, but you need to wait an hour to drink the treated water.

Personal water filter bottles and devices

There are many different companies across the world which specialise in personal water purification devices either for travelers or as humanitarian assistance for those who can not access clean water- maybe after a disaster.

These can be purchased on a range of websites and the item shipped to you.

One of the better known products is the LifeStraw, which was invented in 1994 when company Vestergaard was asked to develop a filter that could remove Guinea worm larvae from water it was contaminating.

In 2005 it created  a personal “straw-like” filter, designed for people in developing countries who don’t have access to clean water.

The straws can be used in any water source, the user sucks through it and the straw filters out bacteria and diseases.

It sells products for the home and for travellers, and a portion of proceeds from consumer sales across the globe goes towards buying LifeStraw Community purifiers distributed to schools in developing communities, so each consumer purchase provides one school child in a developing community with safe water for an entire school year.

Water bottles are also easy to find online, they usually have an inbuilt water filter and a long straw the water will go through. They can take a little while for the water to actually come through, but they are portable so you can keep it in your bag, so refill it where ever you need to.

A popular bottle, called the Lifesaver, can give you up to 6,000 litres of clean water for individual use.  The bottles uses microbiological water filters use ultra filtration technology to filter out viruses, bacteria, cysts and parasites from contaminated water sources. You unscrew the bottom of the bottle, pour your water in then it filters through when you drink it from the bottle top.

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