Getting drinking water is the most important thing in a survival situation. A person can survive about 30 days without food but you can only live about 3 days without water and in certain conditions as little as one day. In normal conditions in a comfortable temperature the human body uses two quarts of water daily. With changes like heat and stress you body can use up to a gallon a day.
Things to know.
1. Water does not purify itself. Just because water is flowing in a clear stream with a pebble bottom in the sun does not mean it is pure water. It can still have bacteria and disease. If it looks contaminated upstream it is contaminated downstream.
2. Springs are not guaranteed source of pure water. It’s a myth that water is purified because it’s moving though dirt or sand. The grains of dirt or sand are too far apart to purify the water.
3. Mountain streams are not always safe. A lot of people think mountain streams are safe, they are not. You never know if a stream is safe unless you see the source, and even then you cannot be sure. You could take a drink and walk upstream a few hundred yards and see a dead animal lying in the water.
4. Stagnant water is not always unsafe. Just because it may have algae and insect lave in it does not mean it is unsafe to drink. Stagnate water may be safer because it has no connection to contamination. If the water has algae and larva in it you can filter it with a T-shirt.
If you can you must purify water. The way to do it is to boil it for 15 minutes. That will kill all viruses and bacteria. If you cannot boil the water there are chemical things you can but to purify water.
If you cannot find a water source like a lake or stream, you can find water in other places.
1. Dew and condensation. Dew is a very good source of water. A lot of water can be collected from plants during the morning hours. Remember dew comes from the water vapor in the air collecting on surface, so dew is an inexcusable water source.
2. Barrel cactus. To collect water from a cactus cut the top of the cactus off, but be careful of the spines. The best things to do is cut a chunk of the pulp inside the cactus out and chew on it and suck out the water then spit the pulp out. A large cactus may yield two quarts of water. Several western states have laws protecting cacti because they take up to two hundred years to mature. So only do this if necessary.
3. Ice and snow. If you are in a cold climate with ice or snow it will be easy to find water. Snow is probably best because it does not need to be purified. Remember ten inches of snow equals one inch of rain. Ice is also good but needs to be purified and will yield a lot more water. Ice to water ratio is 1:1.
Water is the most important thing in a survival situation. If you know you will be in one for awhile the first thing you should do is find water then shelter then food. Remember to make a fire and purify all water if possible.