Thirsty for Solutions: DIY Solar Still Saves Lives

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Surviving drought can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to finding clean drinking water. In times of disaster or off-grid living, access to clean water is crucial for survival. Fortunately, building a solar still can help you collect and purify water, even in the driest of conditions. A solar still is a simple yet effective device that uses the power of the sun to evaporate and condense water, leaving behind impurities and contaminants. In this article, we will guide you through the process of building a solar still, step-by-step.

We will also provide tips on how to use it effectively and safely. So, whether you’re a survivalist, prepper, or just someone looking to live off the grid, read on to learn how to build a solar still and ensure access to clean water in times of need.


In times of drought, access to clean water becomes a major concern. Whether you are living off the grid or preparing for a disaster, having a reliable source of water is essential for survival. One solution to this problem is building a solar still, which can collect and purify water using only the power of the sun.

A solar still is a simple device that uses the process of evaporation and condensation to purify water. It consists of:

  1. A container to hold the water
  2. A clear plastic sheet to cover the container
  3. A collection container to catch the purified water

The sun heats up the water in the container, causing it to evaporate and rise up to the plastic sheet. The plastic sheet then traps the water vapor, which condenses and drips down into the collection container as purified water.

Building a solar still is a relatively easy and inexpensive project that can be done with materials you may already have on hand. Here are the steps to build your own solar still:

Step 1: Choose a Location

The first step in building a solar still is to choose a location. You want to find a spot that gets plenty of sunlight throughout the day. Ideally, the location should be flat and free from any obstructions that could block the sun’s rays. You also want to choose a spot that is close to a water source, such as a river or lake.

Step 2: Dig a Hole

Next, you need to dig a hole in the ground. The hole should be deep enough to hold your container of water, but not so deep that it is difficult to access. A depth of about 2 feet should be sufficient. The diameter of the hole should be slightly larger than the diameter of your container.

Step 3: Place the Container in the Hole

Once you have dug the hole, place your container of water in the center. The container should be made of a non-toxic material, such as plastic or glass. It should also be able to withstand the heat of the sun without melting or warping.

Step 4: Cover the Hole with Plastic

Next, cover the hole with a clear plastic sheet. The plastic should be large enough to cover the entire hole and extend beyond the edges. You can use rocks or dirt to hold the plastic in place around the edges.

Step 5: Place a Weight in the Center of the Plastic

To create a depression in the plastic, place a weight in the center. This will cause the plastic to sag down towards the container of water, creating a funnel shape. The weight can be anything heavy enough to hold the plastic down, such as a rock or a brick.

Step 6: Collect the Purified Water

As the sun heats up the water in the container, it will begin to evaporate and rise up to the plastic sheet. The plastic sheet will trap the water vapor, which will condense and drip down into the container. You can collect the purified water by placing a collection container under the weight in the center of the plastic.

Tips for Building a Solar Still

Here are some tips to help you build a successful solar still:

  • Choose a location that gets plenty of sunlight throughout the day.
  • Use a non-toxic container to hold the water.
  • Make sure the plastic sheet is clear and free from any holes or tears.
  • Use a weight that is heavy enough to hold the plastic down, but not so heavy that it crushes the container.
  • Check the solar still regularly to make sure it is working properly and to collect the purified water.


Building a solar still is a simple and effective way to collect and purify water in times of drought. By using only the power of the sun, you can create a reliable source of clean water for drinking, cooking, and other essential needs. Whether you are living off the grid or preparing for a disaster, a solar still is a valuable tool to have in your survival kit. With a little bit of effort and some basic materials, you can build your own solar still and ensure that you have access to clean water when you need it most.

Interesting facts about “Surviving Drought: How to Build a Solar Still for Collecting and Purifying Water”

  1. The human body can survive for weeks without food, but only a few days without water.
  2. In emergency situations, it is recommended to drink at least 2 liters of water per day.
  3. Water sources such as rivers and lakes may contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause illness or disease if consumed untreated.
  4. Boiling water is one of the most effective ways to purify it, as it kills most types of bacteria and viruses.
  5. Solar stills are a simple yet effective way to collect and purify water in areas with limited access to clean drinking water.
  6. A solar still works by using the sun’s energy to evaporate contaminated or salty water, which then condenses into pure drinking water that collects in a container below the still’s surface area.
  7. Solar stills have been used for centuries by desert nomads who needed a reliable source of fresh drinking water in arid regions where rainfall was scarce or non-existent