In today’s modern society, we give water very little thought. It is not uncommon for people to leave the water running while brushing their teeth. We run into the kitchen and flip the faucet only to be rewarded with gushing water. We use water in our refrigerators, washers, kitchens, and bathrooms. Water is everywhere we are and we have just come to expect that running water is a right and we will never be without it.
Then we see television commercials asking us to donate a few dollars for people in other parts of the world that have no clean water. These people bathe in nasty rivers and then they pull water from these same places and cook and drink with it. This is the same water that animals wade in as well. Running water is something that we take for granted and yet most of the world does not have access to it.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years you are well aware that the western United States is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in their history. California especially has been hit hard by the dryness. Rivers that were once hundreds of feet wide and nearly 75-100 feet deep are now little more than creeks. So dealing with a drought is not a concept that is far fetched.
So what are the best ways to deal with this issue? Is there a way to find water in the wilderness? And once you possibly find this water, is there a good way to purify/filter it? The answer to all these questions is yes.
Create a Solar Still
The first option you have is to make a solar still. This is a very simple process but it does take some time. However it is important to keep in mind that even in a desert environment you can collect as much as 1 quart of water every day with this process. That obviously doesn’t sound like a ton, and it isn’t, but it is much better than nothing at all.
To start, you will need to collect a few decent sized rocks, some plastic, and a watertight container. You will then dig a hole that the container can fit into. The hole will need to be deep enough that even when the container is placed in the hole it is still below ground level. The place the plastic over the hole and secure the plastic with the rocks. Then place a small rock in the middle of the plastic. This will allow the plastic to sag into the container and will make a drip point for condensation. The heat of the sun will make condensation that will then drip into the container.
Another option that is similar to the solar still is to place a bag over a green leafy plant or tree branch. Water is constantly evaporating from these plants and when you place a bag over them you can collect a few ounces in a few hours. It is not the fastest way to collect hundreds of gallons, but it will make a difference if you are dehydrated and desperate.
Collect Water From Plants
Of course you always have the option of cutting vines and even bamboo. In many cases bamboo itself will have quite a bit of water inside. You simply have to start cutting the bamboo at its joints. Start high and work your way down. Most shoots will have a reservoir of water that can be used directly. Vines are similar although they are much more difficult to use to attain a drinkable amount of water. Plants that are green are obviously tapping into a water source somewhere.
Dig Water From Underground
Another option is to find a dry creek bed or riverbed. While the dirt might look dry there is a good chance that there is still water in the ground. All you have to do is start digging. As you start getting deeper you will notice the soil temperature will drop and the soil will become darker and darker. In many cases once the hole is about 12 inches deep it will start to fill with muddy water.
Don’t Forget to Filter
This leads to the question of filtering/purifying. Obviously these are 2 different things but they are still very important. For these purposes it is recommended that you have a portable filter like a Life Straw or a Berkey water filter. These can be several hundred dollars, but they are worth the investment.
We have a Berkey that can filter up to 10,000 gallons. While we already have water stored for emergencies, there could come a time when it will run out. We will be forced to scavenge for water just like everybody else and that is when a filter system like the Berkey will come in handy.
Do you have any other tips for finding and collecting water in the wild? Share them in the comments!