Below Ground Solar Still

(d) Anchor the tubing to the container's bottom by forming a loose overhand knot in the tubing. Extend the unanchored end of the tubing up, over, and beyond the lip of the hole.

(e) Place the plastic sheet over the hole, covering its edges with soil to hold in place. Place a rock in the center of the plastic sheet.

(f) Lower the plastic sheet into the hole until it is about 18 inches below ground level. Make sure the cone's apex is directly over the container. Ensure the plastic does not touch the sides of the hole because the earth will absorb the moisture.

(g) Put more soil on the edges of the plastic to hold it securely and prevent the loss of moisture.

(h) Plug the tube when not in use so that moisture will not evaporate.

(i) Plants can be placed in the hole as a moisture source. If so, dig out additional soil from the sides.

(j) If polluted water is the only moisture source, dig a small trough outside the hole about 10 inches from the still's lip. Dig the trough about 10 inches deep and 3 inches wide. Pour the polluted water in the trough. Ensure you do not spill any polluted water around the rim of the hole where the plastic touches the soil. The trough holds the polluted water and the soil filters it as the still draws it. This process works well when the only water source is salt water.

(k) Three stills will be needed to meet the individual daily water intake needs.


2. Paul Auerbach, Wilderness Medicine, 3rd Edition 1995.

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