Can You Drink Swimming Pool Water In An Emergency?

A common question that I often read on prepper/survival forums is can you drink water from a swimming pool in the event of an emergency

I figured this would be a great topic for me to research since I’m thinking about building an underground swimming pool in the near future.

And knowing the average backyard swimming pool can typically hold around 18,000 to 20,000 gallons of water, it should make a great form of water storage if I ever need it.

But the question still remains, is swimming pool water safe to drink?

Is Swimming Pool Water Safe to Drink?

After a couple of hours of research, I was able to come to the conclusion below.

If the water in your swimming pool has a chlorine level of 4 ppm (parts per million) or lower then the answer is yes, the water should be safe to drink as long as it’s only consumed in small quantities. However, if your swimming pool water is treated with salt then the answer is no. Unless you plan on running the saltwater through a desalinator or solar still.

So why should you only consume swimming pool water in small quantities?

While the chlorine in the water may not be overly dangerous by itself, some of the other additives in pool water (such as cyanuric acid) can make you terribly sick if you drink too much. 

In addition, if your swimming pool water has been contaminated with certain germs then it may cause a laxative effect if consumed. This can be detrimental in a survival situation.

Can You Drink Pool Water With a Lifestraw?

No, I would not recommend using a Lifestraw to drink water from a swimming pool.

The Lifestraw personal water filter is only designed to remove bacteria, parasites, dirt, sand, and microplastics from water. 

This means that the Lifestraw won’t be able to remove any of the chlorine or other chemicals/stabilizers that are typically present in swimming pool water.

Now you can invest in a Lifestraw Go water bottle or a Lifestraw Steel personal water filter and be able to remove chlorine from the water, but you still won’t be able to remove all of the other nasty chemicals that are harmful to your body.

Of course, if you do happen to run out of safe drinking water and pool water is all you have left then using a Lifestraw water filter may be better than using nothing at all. Just try to only consume enough water to hold you over until you find a better source of water that is safe for drinking.

What Should You Use Swimming Pool Water For?

Swimming pool water should only be used for non-potable purposes such as washing your clothes and dishes. By using swimming pool water for your cleaning purposes you’ll be able to save your safe drinking water for cooking and drinking instead.