Lost? Here Are Some Ways to Find Water

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

Water is your most crucial survival resource. If it’s not frigid, you can go a day without food and shelter. However, 24 hours without water depletes your physical and mental strength, making it harder to complete the duties needed to survive. After three days without water, your body will shut down and die.

Your body can circulate blood, process food, maintain body temperature (preventing hypo and hyperthermia), think clearly, and perform many other internal activities with two liters every day.

Water is essential to life. Water may be found practically anywhere with a little knowledge. Today, we’ll discuss water-finding methods for temperate and tropical settings.

Any survival expert would tell you to filter or purify water from streams, lakes, condensation on plants, etc. Since you may not have the proper supplies, this is often impossible. You risk ingesting hazardous microbes in unpurified water. If it’s life or death, you’ll risk it. Below are several safe water-gathering methods for drinking.

The following tips work best in temperate, tropical, and dryer climes but may apply to others.

Streams, rivers, lakes.
These are your most obvious wild water sources. Bacteria cannot grow in clear, moving water. Look for little streams first. Rivers are OK, although larger ones often have upstream pollutants. Lakes and ponds are OK, but bacteria grow in stagnant water.

How do you locate these waterways? Sense first. Even far away, you may hear running water if you stand motionless and listen.

Next, look for animal footprints that may lead to water. While irritating, insect swarms indicate nearby water. Follow bird flight paths in the mornings and nights to find water. Desert animal behavior is crucial. Sand makes animal tracks easier to see, and they usually lead to water. Dry places attract more birds to water.

Scout your surroundings. Valleys, ditches, gullies, etc., lead water downhill. Low ground usually has water.

Rainwater
Rainwater is a safe way to stay hydrated. This is especially true in wild, rural areas (in urban centers, the rain first travels through pollution, emissions, etc.).

Two main methods capture rainwater. Use all your containers first. Second, tie the corners of a poncho or tarp around trees a few feet off the ground, place a small rock in the center to create a depression, and let the water accumulate.

By tying the poncho or tarp to funnel into your bottle, pot, or whatever, you may make your containers more effective.

Heavy Morning Dew
Want to collect a liter of water per hour? Take a pre-sunrise walk through tall grass, meadows, etc., with absorbent garments or fine grass about your ankles. Rinse and repeat. Avoid gathering dew from toxic plants.

Fruits/Vegetation
Water is in fruits, vegetables, cacti, fleshy/pulpy plants, and roots. You can collect any of these plants, put them in a container, then shatter them with a rock to get their liquid. In tough times, every penny helps.

Tropical areas with rich fruits and greenery benefit from this strategy. Coconuts hydrate well. However, ripe coconuts’ laxative liquid dehydrates you; thus, green coconuts are healthier.

Plant transpiration
Plant transpiration is another easy water-gathering method. This is how plants get moisture from their roots to their leaves. You’ll collect the water before it vaporizes into the air.

First thing in the morning, wrap a bag (or something you can make into a bag, the larger, the better) around a lush green tree branch or shrub. To gather water, weight the bag with a rock. Plants transpire and create moisture daily. It gathers at the bottom of your bag instead of vaporizing. Avoid toxic plants.

Below is a video explaining plant transpiration.

There are other ways to find water, but these are just a few to try first if you find you are lost in the middle of nowhere.

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