People cannot survive in the wilderness without air, water and food. In normal conditions a person can live witout air for three minutes, without water for three days, and without food for three weeks. Since air is plentiful (in most survival situations) we shouldn't worry about that right now. Lack of water however is something that we should consider and also know how to deal with in case we face such situation. Below you will understand many essential things about water, how to find it, how to purify it and what not to do, you might want to save this page to your favorite pages for future reference, because it has a lot of things that you need to know for your survival.
Your body loses water through normal body processes (sweating, urinating, defecating and even breathing). During average daily exertion when the atmospheric temperature is 20 degrees Celsius (C) (68 degrees Fahrenheit), the average adult loses and therefore requires 2 to 3 liters of water daily. Other factors, such as heat exposure, cold exposure, intense activity, high altitude, burns, or illness, can cause your body to lose more water. You must replace this water.
Our body consists of 60% water, 75% of our brain and lean muscles is water, and 83% of water in our blood. Dehydration results from inadequate replacement of lost body fluids. It decreases your efficiency and, if injured, increases your susceptibility to severe shock. Consider the following results of body fluid loss:
The most common signs and symptoms of dehydration are:
In any situation where food intake is low, drink 6 to 8 liters of water per day. In an extreme climate,
especially an arid one, the average person can lose 2.5 to 3.5 liters of water per hour. In this type of
climate, you should drink 14 to 30 liters of water per day.
With the loss of water there is also a loss of electrolytes (body salts). The average diet can usually keep up with these losses but in an extreme situation or illness, additional sources need to be provided. A mixture of 0.25 teaspoon of salt to 1 liter of water will provide a concentration that the body tissues can readily absorb.
Of all the physical problems encountered in a survival situation, the loss of water is the most preventable. The following are basic guidelines for the prevention of dehydration:
You can estimate fluid loss by several means. A standard field dressing holds about 0.25 liter (one-fourth
canteen) of blood. A soaked T-shirt holds 0.5 to 0.75 liter.
You can also use the pulse and breathing rate to estimate fluid loss. Use the following as a guide:
Don't eat (especially dry food) if you cannot find water, because to digest food your body will need water.
If you're very thirsty and find water, drink it slowly, don't overload your system, try to drink every 10 minutes until you don't feel thirsty anymore.
Water is one of your most urgent needs in a survival situation. You can' t live long without it, especially in hot areas where you lose water rapidly through perspiration. Even in cold areas, you need a minimum of 2 liters of water each day to maintain efficiency.
More than three-fourths of your body is composed of fluids. Your body loses fluid as a result of heat, cold, stress, and exertion. To function effectively, you must replace the fluid your body loses. So, one of your first goals is to obtain an adequate supply of water.
Almost any environment has water present to some degree, here are some:
Frigid Areas: Snow and ice can be melted. Warning: Do not eat snow or ice without melting! Eating snow and ice can reduce body temperature and will lead to more dehydration. Sea ice that is gray in color or opaque is salty. Do not use it without desalting it. Sea ice that is crystaline with a bluish cast has little salt in it.
At Sea: For sea water you need to use desalter kit, do not drink seawater without desalting.
Rain Water: Rain water is not the main source in survival situation but in case it rains and you're short of water it would be of a big help, try to find a wide container, because the width in this case is more important than the depth especially if it's going to rain only for a short time, you may want to occupy the widest surface possible to take advantage of every drop of rain the wider the better (a kids inflatable swimming pool would be nice). Also you can spread a big clean sheet of plastic and make a hole in the middle, place it about 2 feet above the ground, place a bucket underneath the plastic sheet, exactly underneath the hole, so that the rain collected from the big plastic would pour rain water through the hole into the bucket, you may need to empty the bucket to a bigger container and place it again under the hole. (try to make the center of the plastic form a V so that the rain water will accumulate only in the center by placing a clean stone in the center).
Water at the Beach: Dig a hole deep enough to allow water to seep in, obtain rocks, build fire and heat rocks, drop hot rocks in water, hold cloth over hole to absorb steam, wring water from cloth. The rocks will make the water evaporate, the cloth will capture the evaporated water and convert it into water.
Alternate method if a container or bark pot is available, fill container or pot with seawater, build fire and boil water to produce steam, hold cloth over container to absorb steam; wring water from cloth.
Water in the Desert: In deserts you can find water in:
Stills (Solar Stills): You can use stills in various areas of the world. They draw moisture from the ground and from plant
material. You need certain materials to build a still, and you need time to let it collect the water. It takes
about 24 hours to get 0.5 to 1 liter of water.
To make a belowground still, you need a digging tool, a container, a clear plastic sheet, a drinking tube, and a rock (See image below).
Select a site where you believe the soil will contain moisture (such as a dry stream bed or a low spot where rainwater has collected). The soil at this site should be easy to dig, and sunlight must hit the site most of the day.To construct the still:
You can drink water without disturbing the still by using the tube as a straw. You may want to use plants in the hole as a moisture source. If so, dig out additional soil from the sides of the hole to form a slope on which to place the plants. Then proceed as above. If polluted water is your only moisture source, dig a small trough outside the hole about 25 centimeters from the still's lip (Figure 6-8). Dig the trough about 25 centimeters deep and 8 centimeters wide. Pour the polluted water in the trough. Be sure you do not spill any polluted water around the rim of the hole where the plastic sheet touches the soil. The trough holds the polluted water and the soil filters it as the still draws it. The water then condenses on the plastic and drains into the container. This process works extremely well when your only water source is salt water. Note: This can only be done as a last resort in absence of other water sources.
Rainwater collected in clean containers or in plants is usually safe for drinking. However, purify water
from lakes, ponds, swamps, springs, or streams, especially the water near human settlements or in the
When possible, purify all water you got from vegetation or from the ground by using iodine or chlorine, or by boiling.
Purify water by:
By drinking nonpotable water you may contract diseases or swallow organisms that can harm you.
Examples of such diseases or organisms are:
If the water you find is also muddy, stagnant, and foul smelling, you can clear the water:
Note: These procedures only clear the water and make it more palatable. You will have to
To make a filtering system, place several centimeters or layers of filtering material such as sand, crushed rock, charcoal, or cloth in bamboo, a hollow log, or an article of clothing.
Remove the odor from water by adding charcoal from your fire. Let the water stand for 45 minutes before drinking it.
What not to Drink:
More information: We hope this page was helpful and provided you with some survival techniques on how to find water or purify it in the wilderness. Check out our main page for more survival scenarios here Survival Guide, knowledge is light, and knowledge can save your life. Make sure you do your best to know what to do in a survival situation and then hope for the best.