How To Find Water

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

Water is one of the most important resources in a survival situation. Sometimes finding water is easy. You should look for flowing water because it’s less likely to have bacteria festering inside of it. That means small streams, creeks, or even rivers would be acceptable. One concern about larger rivers however is that there may be pollution upstream. Some filters do not take out chemical pollution, so keep that in mind when using any water.

Lakes and ponds can be OK, but because they are not moving there’s a higher chance there are bacteria in there. How can you find water though? First, if you stand still and listen closely you might hear water flowing. Second, follow animal tracks. Larger animals such as deer, cows, cougar, bears, and more, typically know where fresh water sources are located. Additionally, follow the flight path of birds as they typically land to get water frequently.

What if you can’t find a large body of water or a river? There are other ways to get water such as collecting rainwater. It’s one of the safest ways to get water that is drinkable. The only exception to this rule is urban areas that may have higher pollution and emissions. You can collect rainwater using any container you have by just setting it out in a rainstorm. That isn’t a very efficient way to collect rainwater. To improve on this method, tie the corners of a poncho or tarp to some trees just above the ground. Place a small rock in the center so that it drops the middle down making a depression. Then wait for it to rain for water. If you’d like, you can place the container and add a dip in the poncho so that it automatically runs off into the container.

Another overlooked way to collect liquid is from the morning dew. Tie an absorbent cloth around your ankles and walk around before the sun rises through tall grass. Wring out the water into a container once the cloth has been saturated. The only caution with this one is to ensure the plants you collect dew from are safe and not poisonous.

You can collect the respiration of plants. In the morning just before sunrise, tie a bag around a large leafy green branch of a shrub. Place a small rock in the bag to weigh down the bag some so the water collects at the bottom. Over the course of the day, the plant will release moisture. This will collect into the bag and drip down to the bottom. You can poke a tiny hole at the very bottom of the bag and place a container underneath it. With this method never use a poisonous plant.

Although it may be tempting when thirsty, don’t use a water substitute. Alcohol will continue to dehydrate you and cloud your judgment. Blood has a high salt content and can transmit other diseases. Seawater has 4% salt. It would take more water to get rid of the salt from seawater than it gives you in exchange. Urine has waste and salt in it. Be sure to exhaust all other methods before even entertaining the idea of using these items.


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