I have been drinking natural unfiltered raw water straight from rivers, streams, springs and ponds and I haven’t ever gotten sick from it. I strongly believe and know it in my heart that water from springs, rivers, streams and ponds is cleaner and better for you than tap water and filtered processed water that we get which isn’t natural water. If I’ve never gotten sick from it than it’s okay right?

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    $\begingroup$ this sounds like a personal medical question, if you are asking if clarity of water is an indicator of toxins or parasites or lack there of the answer is no. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Nov 15, 2019 at 4:41
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    $\begingroup$ (Not) Getting sick from raw water is probably associated to (no) bacteria in the water. However, there might be heavy metals or organic pollutants in raw water. Organic pollutants are unlikely when being far from anthropogenic activities. However, heavy metals might be dissolved in natural water. There can be negative long term consequences: e.g. if there is lead (Pb) in the water. $\endgroup$ Nov 15, 2019 at 12:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Ryan you are playing a statistics game, eventually, you will encounter some water with a large enough parasite or bacterial load to make you sick. I and a number of people I worked with felt the same especially when we worked near the timberline. Eventually, we all got sick at one time or another due to water born pathogens, one of my work partners ended up in the hospital for over a month because of a particularily bad gardia infection. $\endgroup$
    – user824
    Nov 15, 2019 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


It all depends where you are and how carefully you choose your water sources. In the Malaysian jungle (peninsular Malaya and Sarawak), I used natural water sources all the time for years on end without ill consequences. There are numerous springs and small streams where the water is always good, but we never used a main river where there was habitation upstream. On rare occasions we used a wild pig wallow, provided the water was crystal clear. On even rarer occasions I have used natural water sources when camping in the British countryside, where even more care is required. One never knows what chemicals may have got into the run off, though up in the hills it is safer.

You may have a very good immune system, but not all people have. Usually I used natural water sources when there was no other choice, but in an inhabited area I would choose tap water if it was easily obtainable. It is the opinion of the medical profession that tap water is just as good for you as natural water, and carries less risk.


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