Water Basics

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Water is essential to life. No matter what situation you are in, without it, you won’t last very long. The human body is made up of about 85-90% water. It is an essential element for kidney and brain function and it helps to clear the waste out of our bodies.

The rule of thumb is that you can live for about:
Three (3) Weeks without food. But only. . .
Three (3) Days without water.
Survival is often about using your common sense, logic and creativity. Finding water is no exception.
When water availability is a concern, your first priority is to conserve the water that you already have contained in your body plus any supplies that you have left. There are some tips on conserving bodily fluid in the ‘fluid loss’ and ‘electrolytes (salt)’ articles further on in the water category.
Water can be sourced from most places but you need to know where to look.
Water is at the top of the priority list so you need to ensure that you secure an adequate supply as soon as possible (Not once you have already run out).
Whilst it is preferable to find a source of fresh running water, this will not always be an option. All water can be treated and made drinkable though so even if its not an ideal source, it should be collected and treated by using one of the methods described in this section.
Be weary of water which:
  • Does not have any living plants growing in or around it
  • Has animal, reptile or fish bones or carcasses in or around it
  • Has white chalky ring/s around the edges

These are often signs of chemical contamination and this water will need to be distilled before it is fit to drink. It is always advisable to boil water from pools.

  • Never drink seawater without diluting as this will lead to kidney failure.
  • Only ever drink urine as an absolute last resort.
*It is possible to get fresh drinkable water from both seawater and urine. These techniques are described later in this section.

Where the situation permits, you should always boil all water to avoid picking up any nasty stomach bugs which could causes vomiting and diarrhea which will cause you to lose fluid, which you cannot afford to lose.
Exertion, heat, injury, or an illness can all contribute to increases in water loss.
Dark yellow urine indicates dehydration.

Once you find a good source of water, Be careful not to drink too much too quickly as this will usually result in you throwing up, if you are at all dehydrated, resulting in further fluid loss and further dehydration. You should take it in small frequent amounts allowing your body to accept and absorb it.

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