Outside of the air that we breathe, water is the single most necessary substance for our survival. Remember the ‘Rule of Three’s’? We can go up to 3 months without food, but we can only last 3 days without water. The air that we breathe contains water, our bodies are made up primarily of water…So, how do we locate, procure, purify, in short, how do we provide water for ourselves in a survival, or other, emergency?
There are several methods for locating water:
- Locate animal trails and follow these to water;
- Dig for water in the proper locations;
- Plant observation; and
- Collect water (rainwater, morning dew, snow) as needed.
In almost all of the above mentioned methods, locating the water is merely the first step; once located, it must then be purified and made safe for human consumption. Do not ever make the assumption that anything (food or drink) is safe to eat or drink simply because you saw an animal eating or drinking it. Scores of people have died on the doorstep of this assumption. In any survival situation, whether it be in the wild, in a rural setting, or in an urban setting your food and drink must first be properly prepared before being consumed by human beings. This means your water must be purified, and your food must be thoroughly cleaned and cooked.
First, let’s talk about locating animal trails and following these to water. Animal trails are usually easily spotted in the wild, and are usually worn down, ancient pathways used by generations of varying types of wildlife in their daily wanderings. For our purposes here, we will lump cattle trails and wildlife trails into the same category. Animal trails are useful to find both food and water. Often, there will be one main trail, with several feeder trails throughout it’s length. To locate water simply locate the main animal trail, then the feeder trails, and follow whatever direction the feeder trails are pointing to. Usually, the direction the feeder trails are pointing out is the direction to a water source. Remember the word usually, because this is not a foolproof method.
Early morning and late evening animal movements may also lead you to water. Typically, birds fly low and straight when going to a water source. Most grazing animals like deer, etc. visit water sources in the early mornings or late afternoons. Rodents visit water sources at all times of the day and night, and predators, especially ambush predators, will hunt at them.
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In future posts we’ll discuss the other water procurement methods mentioned above in more detail. Until then, God bless!