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Cooking water advice: How to get safe drinking water in an emergency


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Freezing temperatures and burst pipes in Texas have put pressure on water companies, and many in the region are out of safe drinking water. Austin is currently under city-wide water-boiling advice, along with more than a dozen other areas in the state. Bottled water is the safest alternative to tap water during a cooking water advice. If you don̵

7;t have bottled water, tap water can be boiled to drink safely as long as it’s not mixed with fuel or other dangerous chemicals. If it is contaminated with chemicals, no amount of cooking will make it safe to drink.

Follow these guidelines, provided by the CDC, to boil your water so that you can drink it safely.

Step 1: Boil the water

To kill parasites, viruses and bacteria, boil the water for 1 minute. If you live at elevations over 6,500 feet, boil the water for 3 minutes.

Step 2: Let the water cool

Make sure the water cools down before drinking it.

Step 3: Save it

Keep the water in a food safe container if you don’t plan on using it right away.

If the water you’re boiling is cloudy, the CDC recommends filtering it through a coffee filter or a clean towel. You can also wait for the cloudy water to settle to the bottom and pour only the clear water at the top into your pan or scoop it up to cook it. Then follow the same steps as above – cook for 1 minute (or 3 minutes depending on your height), let the water cool, then store in a clean, food-safe container if you’re not already using it.

Check out the CDC guidelines for more information on getting clean drinking water, including additional advice if you don’t have access to bottled water and you can’t boil water.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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