What is gray water?

Gray water is dirty water. This can be water that was used for showering or left over from cooking, water used for brushing teeth or melted ice.

What should you do with gray water?

The rules regarding gray water are simple - you never dispose of it on to the ground! There are several solutions for the gray water collection, disposal and evaporation. See below.


Field showers are recommended during the Midburn events. The field shower must constructed together with an “evaporation basin”, where all of the used water is flowing into a closed space with a black colored bottom to encourage evaporation.


Are you done cooking and have some water left? We recommend collecting the left over water into the empty containers that you brought the water in. Let’s say you've brought 25 liters of water in 5 containers of 5 liters each, make sure you have one extra container empty - that’s where you will be collecting the gray water left from all the cooking and cleaning.

Important! Each container with gray water must be clearly marked and stored away from the rest of the drinking water. Special attention must be paid to storage of gray water around children. Gray water should be kept away from the reach of children.

How dangerous is gray water? What can I do about it?

Gray water, by definition, is unhygienic. It may contain bacteria, microbes and living organisms. In the desert heat, untreated gray water may eventually turn into black water with growing numbers of bacteria. Gray water may be cleaned by using bleach and soap, thus preventing the spread of bacteria.

How much bleach is enough?

Approximately 1 cup per 5 liters.

How do I practice hygiene in the desert?

Always use cleansing and disinfecting agents on your hands before preparing food. In the kitchen area, set a distinct area for dirty dishes and make sure to separate them from the clean ones.

How do you shower in the desert and save water at the same time?

It is important to remember that the human body takes some time to adapt to the conditions in the desert. After about 24-36 hours the body adjusts to the environment and doesn't sweat as much.

  • A 20X20 cm sponge can serve as a great solution for a refreshing shower without the need for a complex setup of a field shower
  • Melted ice used in a cooler can be set aside and used to fill the shower water container