Potable water is water that is fit for human intake. It is also called drinking water. It should be clean of any bacteria and contaminants which can harm humans. Water can naturally be potable in case of natural springs which are fresh and provide clean drinking water. In situations where water is from a source you are unsure of purity, you can treat the water through different methods and make it potable.
The most common method of purifying water is by boiling it. Boiling water to a temperature of 100 centigrade will kill most of the germs and pathogens in it. It becomes safe for human use. The method is a very popular one because of the convenience it offers. All you need is a boiling pot and a source of heat. However, boiling is not able to eliminate those harmful elements which survive a temperature above hundred centigrade.
Chlorination is a very effective method used for purifying infected water. Chlorine is added to water in solution or tablet form. Chlorine tablets can be carried while travelling so that you can purify water whenever you are in doubt. Chlorine is also added to the national household water supply in most countries of the world because of its effectiveness against most contaminants.
Another chemical compound that can be used to make water potable is iodine. Like chlorine, it is available in solution, crystal and tablet form. Iodine reduces the number of pathogens commonly found in fresh water supply. However, it is unable to finish off all of them and there is still a risk of infection.