Water Survival

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    Water Survival

    A human can survive a maximum of 3 days without the intake of water, assuming you are at sea level, at room temperature, and a relative humidity. Depending on the climate conditions, it has been recorded that people have lasted longer than two weeks with no water supply.

    In cold temperatures water is still very important and requires the same 3.78L (1 gal) of water per day. In snow conditions snow must be melted first.

    A lack of water causes dehydration, resulting in lethargy, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and eventually death. Even mild dehydration reduces endurance and impairs concentration, which is dangerous in a survival situation where clear thinking is essential. Your body requires 3.78L (1 Gal) to 6L of water or other liquids each day in the wilderness to avoid dehydration and to keep your body functioning properly.

    Dark yellow or brown urine indicates dehydration. Because of these risks, a safe supply of drinking water must be located as soon as a shelter is built (or even before, depending on conditions). In a survival situation, any water supply may be contaminated with pollutants or pathogens .

    There are some plants which will provide you with survivable sources of water. Most tree roots and vines contain lots of water, and can be purged by breaking into 3 ft. sections, and standing upright above a water catcher. Avoid any vegetable liquids which are cloudy, milky in appearance, or colored in any way.

    Water can be gathered in numerous ways. In areas of abundant moisture, water can be scooped out of a creek or pond. Rainwater (which is typically safe to drink) can be caught in makeshift containers. If these easy sources are not available, a bit more ingenuity will be necessary. Water can be collected from condensation traps or solar stills. Clothing can be used to collect dew from vegetation.

    Although you cannot drink salty seawater, if you are near the beach, you can dig a sand well on the opposite side (from the sea) of a windblown dune. Below sea level, the sand well will fill with drinkable water. It may taste salty or brackish, but the sand acts as a filter reducing the salt content the further you dig inland.

    Stagnant water can be made drinkable by filtration through a sieve of charcoal.

    Animal blood is not suitable for re-hydration, as it may be diseased. In addition, because of the nutrients it contains, it requires energy to digest. Mammals all have blood-borne pathogens so the animal must also be cooked. Urine contains salt and other toxins, which also makes it unsuitable to drink, although it can be refined in a still.

    A common survival skill is that cacti can be sliced open to obtain water. While some cacti do have fluid inside, the barreled cacti is best.

    Many birds, mammals, and some insects, are reliable indications of water, either through a stream or a soaked patch of earth.

    In extremely dry environments, it is necessary to take extra care to prevent water loss by:

    Breathing through the nose to prevent water vapor escaping through the mouth

    Not smoking

    Resting in the shade and avoiding strenuous labor during sunny, hot periods and move very slow.

    Not eating too much (the human body uses a lot of water to digest food )

    Not drinking alcohol, which hastens dehydration

    You can gather moisture in these ways:

    Transpiration – collecting transpired water via a plastic bag.

    Melting ice

    Well water


    Utility-Scale Atmospheric Water Gathering

    Harvesting/collecting dew from plants and grasses

    Solar still


    Excellent post! Too many people fail to consider water needs when building their supplies.


    although Berkey Water Filtration Systems should be paying me as their walking advertisement – i am not in any way associated to their company nor am i paid for the advertising that i do.

    my husband and i purchased a Berkey 2 years ago and have been collecting rainwater in rainbarrels and running it through the Berkey for all of our drinking water. in the winter we melt snow from our backyard and run it through the Berkey. we honestly can’t say enough about our Berkey!!! it is a bit expensive but well worth the investment.

    here is a post from the Nova Scotia Preppers Network that i did about our Berkey, it’s set-up and how we use it:

    http://novascotiapreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/02/water.html” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false

    our Berkey has paid for itself a few times over by now…and we are enjoying the health benefits of drinking delicious filtered water from the sky!


    I hope I can help with this topic I am one of the founding members of the “GetPandemicReady’ website. We pulled together a whole section for water that you may find useful. All info on that website are downloadable and we urge anyone/everyone to share the info. Go to http://www.GetPandemicReady.org” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false . -k


    An inexpensive filtration system I have employed is utlizing a 30 gallon food grade plastic drum by removing the top, drilling pilot holes in the bottom in a circular pattern slightly smaller than a five gallon buckets mouth opening, filled it with several layers of playground sand and wood charcol. Mounted it on a self made woodstand out of 2×4’s to elevate enough to get a 5 gallon bucket underneath but low enough to pour from a 5 gallon bucket in the top. I still employ a boil policy however this method has been good for me in removing debris and the charcoal removes some of the bacterial element as well.


    @SciFiChick wrote:

    The Berkey is still on my “list”. We hope to have one by this time next year. Hopefully sooner. People don’t always think of water first when it comes to preps even though it is THE most important one!

    excellent product, most of my distributors also sell the Berkie….my product is compatible with it


    You can also make a home-made Berkey-type filter using 5 gallon buckets and a filter purchased on line. The directions can be found here: http://www.GetPandemicReady.org” onclick=”window.open(this.href);return false ➡ Water: Finding & Filtering tab


    holy moly – awesome advice here! thanks guys and gals!

    Alaska Rose

    In dry conditions, even dry sand, you can dig a hole, put a catch container at the bottom, place a sheet of plastic over the entire hole and cover the edges to make a seal, with the soil or sand removed from the hole. place a small pebble or any small item in the center of the plastic over the container in the hole, and leave it all day. It will condense about a pint or so of water, at least, from the driest of sands.


    science – she blinded me witj science – Thanks Alaska Rose! Great Avatar pic btw!

    Alaska Rose

    Thanks on the picture, I am the one wearing glasses. LOL, I also do taxidermy work.


    thanks for the link to the homemade berkey type filter- awesome! wouldn’t have thought of that, even though it looks so simple. Much cheaper too. Can’t wait to show that one to hubby. 😀
    Now…to find me some food grade buckets and i’m good to go. yaaay!!

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