When most of us think of water, we think of leisure activities like swimming, boating, SCUBA, etc. I myself take every available opportunity to swim or snorkel, and I love water recreation. No doubt, bodies of water allow us to indulge in our favorite outdoor activities and have a lot of fun doing it! Fishing, bathing, showering…no matter how you live your life, water plays a key role in everything from recreational activities to basic hygiene.
But how often do we consider just exactly how vital water is to our existence? Water is key to our existence both as individuals, and as a species. Without water, the possibility of life on our planet would be zero. The presence of water on our planet both allows and governs everything from ongoing metabolic processes within the individual human being, to global weather patterns. Water is necessary for a human being to digest food. Water is necessary for every facet of life, especially the continuance of life. Period.
In a survival situation water’s importance cannot be overstated. Without water, you will die. In an arid environment the average, active, healthy human being optimally requires 8-13 gallons of potable water per day to sustain life. Can a person get by on less than this? Certainly, provided that physical exertion is kept to a minimum and one stays at rest in the shade. Low physical exertion and resting in the shade are two luxuries that most people in survival situations do not have. Survival is work, and there is no other alternative but a slow and agonizing death.
There is, however, some good news: With the proper knowledge and application of wit, water is obtainable in every environment on this planet. Even the Bushmen Tribe of Africa, who live and survive in one of the harshest environments on our planet, find water when and where no one else can. This is because they are ‘in tune’ with their environment. Likewise, in order to survive in any outdoor environment, we must be more ‘in tune’ with our surroundings. We must listen to what the environment around us is saying.
For instance, the ‘in-tune’ survivor knows that there are a variety of ways to obtain their necessary water in the outdoors. Something as simple as watching the flight of birds at sunrise, or at dusk, can give the survivor an important clue about the direction of the closest water resources. Or, observing main game trails, and their smaller ‘feeder’, or branch, trails and following them to a nearby water source. Carrying something as simple and inexpensive as a sponge can greatly aid the survivor in gathering an ample supply of water, even in arid environments. Knowing where to dig in an apparently dry river or creek-bed, recognizing plant indicators of the presence of water, etc. This is all essential knowledge that will mean the difference between life and death in a survival situation.
Of course, the above is just a sampling of some of the knowledge that will help the survivor anywhere he, or she, happens to be when they are thrust into a do or die event and must survive on their wits. Next time, we’ll discuss natural water indicators in more depth, so check back with us often! Until then, be safe, be happy, and God bless…