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While enjoying the outdoors, stay safe and hydrate

While enjoying the outdoors, stay safe and hydrate

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With spring providing favorable weather conditions for outdoor recreation in the Brazos River basin, many people look for activities to fill up their weekend. Several flock to Possum Kingdom Lake for its panoramic views and amenities including award-winning hike and bike trails, while others venture out onto sandbars to camp along the river. Whether its cardiovascular exercise or a group of friends camping overnight, drinking clean water to stay hydrated and being up-to-date on weather conditions for safety could keep you out of harm’s way.

Know before you go

For those planning a camping or hiking trip, it is important to note that streambeds of all navigable rivers in Texas are state-owned, meaning fishing, camping and picnicking are all legal for the public to enjoy, including on sandbars. When camping overnight along the river, it is crucial to stay alert for potential increases in river levels due to heavy rains or water releases from the upstream dam. Be aware of trespassing along adjoining private property and be sure to pack up any trash that you create.

Drink safely

Depending on where you are headed, there may or may not be potable (drinking) water available.  So, bringing your own water is always the best idea.  However, as every experienced hiker knows, water is a heavy addition to a backpack.  If you’re confident that water from streams or rivers may be available at your chosen location, there are a few options to lugging heavy water bottles. 

Personal water filters are an option.  Though on the pricey side, these individual bottles can clean water quickly.  If you don’t own a personal water filter, you can still disinfect drinking water by boiling it. In emergencies where water is not purified, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends using only bottled water or boiled water. But, if you didn’t pack pots and pans to boil the water by a campfire, then chlorine dioxide tablets are a good backup to have for water purification. Just drop them inside your water bottle as they remove all the pathogens while leaving no aftertaste. The EPA has instructions on how to boil water and disinfect it by clicking here.

Remember, there are consequences of drinking untreated water. Even water that tastes normal can contain bacteria that can cause loss of appetite, fatigue, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. By packing water bottles or knowing how to treat water while away from home, you can avoid these illnesses.

The Brazos River Authority offers several outdoor opportunities for you to enjoy as the spring weather continues. From camping grounds to hiking trails and sandbars, these are all available for the public to utilize. Having water on hand or knowing how to disinfect water can be both convenient and safe.

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