There are few things in survival that are more important than water. The body can survive without food for a few days, but it cannot go for more than a few hours without hydration. The availability of water can make or break you, as this is something that will determine how you operate and just how long you can last. Of course, in the wilderness, water is more available if you know where to look. But evacuation may not be an option, which means that you have to hunker down near a water source.
What Is the Water Rule?
The water rule is do not hold up in a place that is either more than a twenty minute walk or has the potential of being cutoff from a fresh water source.
Adherence to this rule is vital to your survival, as the absence of water can change your situation drastically. You have to hunker down near a fresh water source that cannot be contaminated, because this will ensure that you can outlast whatever catastrophe occurs. A water source that does not have these attributes will eventually fail you.
Urban Water Sources
There are not many places in an urban environment that will remain uncontaminated. You do have to be well aware of diseases and microbes, especially when having to do with your water supply.
- Rivers and Lakes – One of the best places to find water is in a river or lake. Many big cities in the U.S. and around the world are right off of rivers and lakes. These sources are almost constantly moving and are never stagnant. Stagnant water is a microbe magnet, but constantly moving water (especially when it comes from high mountain streams, such as the South Platte River in Denver) is highly oxygenated and will be cleaner than almost every other water source.
- Springs – A spring is a great place to find good clean water. This water comes up from the ground, as this is where ground water and the surface of the earth meet. These are not impervious to contamination, but there is less of a chance. They do lack in one area that we will discuss later.
- Manmade Wells – These can either be a godsend or they can be a hole of death. Drinking from a contaminated well has the potential of killing you quickly, but a well will almost never dry up unless a drought is very extreme. These also possess a weakness as compared to a river or lake.
- Urban Water Source – The chance here is 50/50. You might get lucky and find that the water has not be shut off or contaminated, and yet you might not. This should be your last resort. Especially during a disaster, water services are one of the first things to go, and one of the easiest to contaminate.
Where Not to Drink
Here are a few places that you will want to avoid at all costs. Drinking from here, even if you’ve boiled and purified it, could cost you your life and a painful death.
- Contaminated Urban Water Supply – Urban areas are where people gather together. Wherever people come together, that is where disease is transmitted most rapidly. One of the most notorious transmission points is a damaged city water system. Even if there is water pressure coming through the lines, if no one is there to monitor city water purification, then that water is essentially clean-looking sewage.
- Stagnant Pond or Lake – These areas are chock full of microbes and biologics. There is nothing worse than contracting a parasite from a stagnant pond, and these will suck the life out of your body. Also, these stagnant water sources have a knack for being dumping grounds for other undesirable materials.
- A Well Near a Contaminated Area – For instance, say that an area just backed up with sewage, because those facilities are down. If a well is near those facilities, all of that sewage has seeped into the groundwater, the same groundwater from which you are drinking and bathing.
Hygiene and Water
The availability of water is not only crucial for hydration and cooking, but it is also crucial for hygiene. One of the major reasons why disease would run rampant in a city when the water shuts off is because people cannot clean themselves effectively. Regular bathing is crucial to avoid disease, especially the painful skin ones. Water can easily wash off dirt, grime, and sweat, which are harbors for disease. Clean washing water is crucial to keeping healthy.
Also, it is vital to designate a water source or storage facility that is at least twenty yards from your designated latrine for obvious reasons.
Source of Life, Source of Food
The most optimal place to find your water is by hunkering down near a fast moving stream, (that has a long history of never going dry) a river, or fresh lake. Another one of the best reasons for that is because fish is an excellent source of calories, and fishing is something you can do while performing other tasks. These water sources are excellent for survival and will keep you alive.
If you cannot settle here, then be sure to find a spring or a non-contaminated well. Simply check the surroundings of the well to be sure that it cannot be contaminated in the future. If that is not possible in your location, you must move to survive. Your water stores will only last so long.
Ancient kings used to have a grasp on just how crucial water supply happened to be. An efficient general would lay siege to a city, but before they made their final approach on the gates, their army would dam up the city’s water source. Without the water, they could not drink, bathe, or even hydrate their livestock, which was their food source. Pretty soon every man, woman, child, and animal was dropping dead from dehydration. Within days, the people on the inside would be begging their own king to allow the aggressors within the walls to end the suffering.
If kings understood how vital water was back then, imagine the tactics they can use today. Find a water source that is not subject to those kinds of tactics.
©2012 Off the Grid News