Tips & Guide

Finding and Cleaning Water for Survival

North Pickering Waterfall

Water is an essential resource that absolutely no one on this planet can live without. It can make or break empires and it can slowly destroy mountains. If you think that you can go more than three days without this key ingredient of life, you are dead wrong.

Finding water during a survival situation can sometimes be as easy as walking to a local stream and gathering some fresh spring water. That may be the case for most of the time, but there are other times in life where water just isn’t as easily had.

If you find yourself in a location where water is scarce, like the desert, you are going to want to know something about the local plants. Desert plants are designed to hold water for long periods of time and if you know exactly what ones to slice into, you are going to be able to survive for a considerably longer time, if not indefinitely.

In deserts and other locations that water is not easily found, you may want to consider digging for your drink. This technique requires a lot of effort and if you are spending a few hours hopelessly digging in the hot desert sun, you are going to dehydrate quickly and die quickly as well. Digging water wells is only a viable option if the water is just a few feet under the surface and you are sure that you have the strength to do it.

Another place to look for water in a survival situation is to scavenge for it. If you find yourself in a situation that takes place in a recently abandoned urban landscape, you can easily break into buildings and break the pipes, water tanks or water heaters to get a drink. Just make sure that the building you are breaking into is completely abandoned. Some residents might not care how thirsty you are.

Occasionally you are going to find yourself absolutely surrounded by water that is unsafe to drink. Theses places include the ocean, swamps, pools, and other locations that will contaminate drinking water with harmful and sometimes fatal chemicals.

Some of the various bacterias and parasites that live comfortably in swamps and other sources of stagnant water are perfectly happy living inside of you. They will make you extremely sick as well. If death by diarrhea sounds like one of the worst ways to die, make sure that you never drink from stagnant water without purifying it first.

The salt water in oceans is also terrible to drink. This is due to its 3.5% salt content, while your body is only 0.9%. If you consume a small amount of salt water, you will be fine as long as you keep drinking more regular water but if you are using salt water to stay hydrated it will destroy the bodies renal system that works to remove the salt from your blood. Too much of this and you will eventually die.

Don’t worry though, there are methods of cleaning dirty water and making it safe for human consumption. You can easily construct an improvised water filter, boil it, add miniscule amounts of bleach, make a solar still and even purchase tablets that will purify water for you.

If you are fortunate enough to own a pool or come across one on your travels, you can drink the chlorinated water as long as the levels of chlorine are not over four parts per million.

In order to safely filter your water, you are going to need to use charcoal to remove most of the particles in it. To make a charcoal filter, you simply cut the bottom off of a soda bottle and turn it upside down. Then in this order you add the following materials; cloth, charcoal, sand, then gravel. This will make a simple filter but you are still going to want to boil your water for at least five minutes to kill off any additional bacteria or other contaminates that might have slipped past the filter.

Bad water sources kill millions of people around the globe every year but now you can consider yourself adequately informed about how to find and clean water during a survival situation.

Justin G

is the kind of person who loves to get lost on purpose just to try and get himself out of a bad situation. If you want to read more about him or his survival tips, you can visit

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I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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