How to Gather Water

Let’s face it.  You won’t survive a week if you don’t have any water to drink, and you won’t last much longer on contaminated water.  So not only is it important to get water, but clean water.  You should be drinking roughly 2% of your body weight (generally around 1.5 liters) in water every day.  If you are in a situation where you are sweating more than normal you should be drinking that every hour.

The obvious choice for clean water, is bottled water.  As a society we have become obsessed with drinking bottled water, and as much as you may disagree with that it will certainly benefit you during the apocalypse.  So look at a supermarket, convenience store, or any other store or restaurant really and you’re bound to find bottled water.

As with everything else, bottled water is not sustainable.  Eventually, it’ll run out and you’ll have to find another way to get water.  There are many things in nature that naturally hold clean water.  For instance, bamboo is hollow in the center so it catches rain water and hold it for a long time.  You just need to punch a hole in the the bamboo to access the clean, clear water.

However, you may not be lucky enough to be anywhere near any of these types of plants.  You’ll need to manufacture your own gathering system.  The easiest of these is probably a dew trap.  To create a dew trap, dig a hole in the ground 2 feet deep, lay some vegetation like palm fronds or grass on the bottom of the hole, lay rocks on top of that, and then more vegetation on top of the rocks.  Leave this apparatus overnight and first thing in the morning, the rocks with be covered in dew.

You can also build a rain catcher.  You need a sheet of waterproof material, like a tarp or (preferably) a poncho.  Make a hole in the center and hang it outside.  Put a bucket or other receptacle under the hole and when it rains you will have a bucket full of water.  Don’t drink this water straight though.  This water will likely be clean, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If you’re in a snowy region, you are literally surrounded  by water.  Most survival experts will caution you against eating snow because it lowers your core temperature and, if the snow is cold enough, blister your mouth and cause ulcers.  In my opinion, if you’re thirsty, you’re thirsty, just eat a little bit at a time.

If you don’t trust yourself to not gobble down the fluffy white stuff, you can make a Finnish Marshmallow, which is simply a snowball on a stick set over a cup near a fire.  It will melt fairly quickly and you’ll have a nice cool glass of water.

The same principle can be applied while you’re on the move.  Fill a canteen or bottle with snow and keep it inside your jacket to let your body heat melt the snow.

The Last Resort

You just drank the last of your water and none of the above applies to you right now.  What can you do for water?  Some really gross things, that’s what!  These options are last ditch efforts, not only because they go against our fundamental sense of decency, but because they are potentially harmful to you.

First of all, you can drink your own urine as long as its fresh and you are relatively hydrated to begin with.  Essentially, if you’re still peeing clear, you’re okay to drink your pee.

Elephant dung is a combination of both undigested and digested (yuck) vegetation.  This makes it a spongy consistency that contains water.  It can have harmful bacteria in it (after all it IS feces) but if you need water it will help, just don’t drink a large quantity of it.

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Author: Adrian

Adrian Hannah is a system administrator and poor college student at Michigan Technological University. He currently resides in Hancock, MI where he observes the outside world and puts in his two cents.