Oct 29 2007


Published by at 6:43 pm under Fire and Camplife

While most people don’t believe this is safe, I have never filtered or boiled the water I have been drinking at ant point in my life. And I have drunk a lot of stream water. There are a few factors which I believe make this safe in some parts of Norway, that may not be present everywhere else:

  • Few people in the mountains, few people to leave litter and pollution.
  • No cattle and little livestock in general. Animals can pollute the water if they are kept in an area in high concentrations.
  • Large rainfall and fast flowing water. The water doesn’t usually have time to gather pathogens.

There are a few guidelines though, which I always follow:

  • I don’t ever drink water that is miscoloured, foul tasting or smelling. Some bog taste can live with.
  • I rarely drink from wide rivers, since chances are that human interference above will pollute the water. If I know there is no such interference, I do drink it and prefer it. This is because a potential carcass upstream will have the washed out bacteria dilluted in a greater river than in a larger stream.
  • For lakes, the rule is as for rivers.
  • Take the water where it flows with the greatest speed (within very reasonable walking distance of course) to avoid buildups of pathogens. Water with some air in will also taste fresher.
  • Do not drink from lakes with very large beaver influence or immediately beneath them.

There will always be bacteria in the water, but when in low concentrations, your immune system will take care of it. I know a very few incidents of giardia in Norway, keep in mind that the European variety of giardia is less than 5% lethal if infected. Below: Streams such as these are usually safe.



Get my book "Traditional Trout Fishing: Fishing for Survival in the North (Volume 1)

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Water”

  1. Marcon 29 Oct 2007 at 6:55 pm

    Nice log with encouraging information for us naturefreaks 😉
    there is nothing as tasty as natural water from natural sources
    offcourse if you do not want to take the risk you can always boil it
    tho boiled water from campfires tastes awfull;



  2. suburban bushwackeron 29 Oct 2007 at 7:07 pm

    I too have drunk a fair amount of stream water and never had a problem. I was taught that as long as it was fast moving and a reasonable distance down stream of the dead sheep you’d be ok. In the heavily farmed courtyside of the UK i think pesticides are the main cause for concern these days, and ofcourse boiling won’t do a great deal to them!

  3. viridarion 29 Oct 2007 at 7:13 pm

    I got sick from stream water that seemed pristine in Maine, USA. I’m sure there is safe water out there, but getting sick out in the middle of the mountains was not fun at all. I don’t even leave the house now without water purification tablets as a direct result of this experience.

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.