You need water to survive. But what would you do if no clean water was available? Would you drink from a dirty creek? A polluted reservoir? Your own urine?
If you had to make a choice between drinking water from a questionable source and death — what would you do? Would you know how to find a clean water source or how to treat tainted water to make it safe to drink?
Well, lucky for you, that’s the topic of today’s alert. First, I’ll go over how to find viable sources of water in the wild. Then I’ll show you the best way to protect yourself and your family if safe, drinkable water is at a premium.
Let’s get started.
A Difficult Choice
Right now the people of Puerto Rico must decide whether or not to drink from wells that are potentially contaminated with industrial chemicals — and many residents have concluded the risk is worth it.
It’s a classic example of a Hobson’s choice. As Juan Carlos Oquendo told CNN, “I’m going to drink it. I’ve drank it before. It tastes fine. If I don’t drink water I’m going to die. So I might as well drink this water.”
Natural disasters aren’t the only reason you might have to choose the lesser of two evils in order to survive. On July 27, Mick Ohman left his Phoenix home to explore a small ghost town located in the Bradshaw Mountains — and almost didn’t live to tell about it.
On his way back to Phoenix, Mick took the scenic route, which lead him down unpaved roads through rough terrain. Eventually, his vehicle broke down in a remote area, leaving him stranded in triple-digit temperatures with no one aware of where he was.
Mick quickly became dehydrated after just a few hours in the intense heat. With no water in sight and the situation getting more and more serious, Mick collected his urine and drank it to survive the night. The next day, Mick found a small creek he was able to drink from, giving him the energy he needed to continue his trek in search of help.
After wandering in the wilderness for close to three days without seeing a soul, Mick heard the unmistakable roar of a dirt bike engine. The motorcyclist cut his joyride short and drove Mick to meet first responders in a small town 45 minutes away.
Clearly, Mick was not prepared for his adventure and is incredibly lucky to have survived
Water, Water Everywhere
It goes without saying that finding water in a forest will typically be easier than in a desert. Start by looking for birds and insects. Flies, for example, tend to cluster around pools of water. Most birds also tend to stay near water (except crows and hawks).
Also, remember that large tree roots typically contain a drinkable amount of water. That being said, don’t overexert yourself digging up roots when you are already low on water. I recommend cutting out about three feet of roots and checking to see if there is any water in them before going whole hog.
Lastly, most forest animals never stray far from a water source, especially while grazing. All mammals need to drink water at regular intervals to survive, so if you see a group of them, there’s a good chance water is nearby.
If you find yourself lost in the desert like Mick, finding water will be more challenging, but it’s not impossible.
Just like in a forest environment, insects and birds are great indicators for finding water. In the desert, ants, bees and mosquitoes are usually found close to a water source. Also, look for signs of animals traveling together — a cluster of animal footprints in a specific area may signify a watering hole is close at hand.
One benefit of being in a desert is that you can usually see a greater distance than in a forest. When you scan your surroundings, look for clumps of vegetation. Typically, the greener and lusher the vegetation is, the more water you will find nearby.
So Fresh and So Clean
Now, let’s say you’ve found water. It still needs to be filtered before you can drink it. After all, the last thing you want is to get sick from drinking dirty water. One of the most common symptoms of drinking contaminated water is diarrhea, which will dehydrate you even more and make your situation much worse.
This is why I always recommend carrying a portable water filter — like the SurvFilter — in every bug-out bag and vehicle you own. Because it’s way too risky to drink dirty water.
When water flows through the SurvFilter, there’s an ionic exchange that captures the viruses and bacteria so you only get clean drinking water. (Imagine the filter is a magnet that extracts all of the bad stuff.)
It has been rigorously tested and certified by independent water laboratories (BCS Laboratories in Gainesville, FL, FL DOH Laboratory #E82924, EPA# FL01147) to remove 99.9% of contaminants, including bacteria, viruses, Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
What’s more, the filter is infused with silver, which means it eliminates bacteria (and everything else) going through it so grit doesn’t build up and clog the filter.
You’ve heard me say it before, but it bears repeating: Human beings can only survive about three days without water.
The next time you restock your bug-out bag, don’t forget to make sure it has a quality survival water filter. That way, if you ever find yourself stranded in the wild, you’ll know how to find a water source and use your SurvFilter to make it safe to drink so you can make it home.