The human body requires energy to function properly and energy comes from the food we eat. Therefore, using algebra if X=Y, Y=X. Food is the most important thing to find in a survival situation in order to function.
Makes sense, but … is dead wrong. No pun intended.
Water is the one most important thing you must have in order to have a chance of survival in a crisis situation.
You can live up to 30 days without food. Not saying you won’t suffer severe damage to body organs and you’ll definitely lose a lot of weight as the body consumes itself, but you will still be alive.
On the other hand. Try going longer than 3 days without water … well, you just can’t. You will die. Obviously, if we’re going to survive we must learn how to locate, create and purify water. Let’s begin.
Basic water finding skills:
There are basic differences of locating water depending on the environment, desert is different than jungle, rural vs urban, etc. we’ll touch on many methods as we proceed.
Much of North America has a plentiful supply of water, sometimes it’s unseen and you have to search for it, but it’s normally there. Remember, water is a strict disciple of gravity and will follow the path of least resistance, therefore, in mountainous areas try to walk downhill. You’ll eventually come across water.
Watch the sky for birds. Birds need water to survive and will congregate near water, although it may only be a small pond or pool of water contained in a rocky divot, it’s water. The same applies to animal trails, deer, coyote, turkey, sheep, etc all require water and will know where to find it.
OK Davy Crockett. You used your new found skills, followed the flight of the birds, kicking up a deer as you stumbled along looking skyward instead of where you’re going, and found a small stream and pool of water.
Eureka! Go drink your fill.
Not so fast Amigo. Chances are no matter how clean the water may look there are millions of nasty parasites swimming around it.
“But … the birds can drink it and be alright!” You say with a parched voice. Birds can fly … can you?
Unless you want to chance having gut wrenching vomiting or diarrhea that makes you think you just dropped your a$$hole onto the ground … you’d better purify that water before partaking.
The most common way is to boil it. Bring the water to a boil for @ 15 minutes, let cool, then gulp away.
What? You just quit smoking so you don’t have any matches or a lighter, and have no idea how to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together. Fine use purification tablets. What are those? Never mind. Let’s learn ways of making our water safe to consume.
Using the Earth Itself to Filter Ground Water:
The ground itself makes an excellent filter, especially if it’s sandy. Starting at the pool of water, walk downhill about 50-60 feet away. The ground may look level, but very few places on earth are completely flat. Lay on your stomach, eyes to the ground and try to determine any change in contour, then decide which way to go.
Once there, start digging a hole until you hit water. (There is no normal depth to dig as it depends on the water table level beneath ground) Allow the pit to fill with water, you may want to dig it a little deeper to allow more water to collect. The water will probably start out a little murky, give it a few minutes to settle and it’ll clear up substantially. If not dig deeper or move farther down the hill and dig again.
The water traveling through the earth from the pool will be filtered by the particles in the ground, thus becoming cleaner. Make a note: This same method can work on saltwater. The further inland you go the greater your chance of hitting fresh water.
Another Method: Using Household Bleach
Nearly all laundry bleaches, whether a name brand like Clorox or a store generic brand, contain 5.5% Sodium Hypoclorite, which is a chemical capable of purifying water. Do not use try to use powdered bleach. Do not use a scented bleach, you’ll find out why. (Tip: Having a small container of bleach and an eyedropper should be an essential in any camping or survival kit.)
Get the big stuff out. Place a piece of cloth, preferably cotton, but use whatever you have, over the mouth a container and gently pour the water onto it letting the water filter through but allowing the cloth to filter the larger particles.
*** If you have no cloth, let the sediment settle by itself.
This is where the eyedropper comes in. Add 8 drops of bleach per gallon of water, 2 drops for a quart. If you were able to filter the water, shake the mixture up in order to disperse the bleach, waiting 15-20 minutes for it to purify before attempting to drink.
Don’t shake it if you couldn’t filter it, you’ll just complicate the situation, rather let it set for 30-40 minutes before attempting to drink.
That’s just great you say … but I have an empty soup can of dirty water not a gallon jug. What’s the equation for that? This is where a little logic and a whole lot of common sense comes into play. 1 drop would probably be sufficient, 2 at the very most, but not 3 or 4.
Properly treated, the water will have a very slight odor of chlorine. If you can’t smell the chlorine, repeat the process and allow the water to stand another 15-20 minutes.
On the other hand, if the chlorine smell is overwhelming, either add water and let set, or better yet … pour it out and start again using less bleach.
In an event you’re faced with using murky or green water, like swamp water, you must at least double the amount of chlorine used. 16 instead of 8 drops per gallon. The procedure is the same as above.
Again, if there’s a faint smell of chlorine the water is drinkable, maybe not desirable visually, but by this time you won’t really worry about what it may look like, only that it’s wet.
By the Way … “How does Bleach purify the water?”
Wondering if you were gonna ask that.
Bleach is what they call an oxidant and will violently react with nearly every type of microscopic cellular life, including viruses, killing it. However, the bleach is consumed during the process.
Look at it this way … the Chlorine is poison and as the bad stuff eats it, they die. This is where the SMELL test comes into play. If there is not a faint chlorine smell after the elapsed time, then that means the bad guys ate all the chlorine, but the chlorine may have run out before all the bad guys could eat, thus leaving lots of microscopic critters still alive and ready to make you sick.
On the other hand … a faint chlorine odor means the chlorine killed all the bad guys and still has a bit left over. Job well done… safe water to drink.