A human can survive a maximum of three days without the intake of water, assuming you are at sea level, at room temperature, and a relative humidity.[4] Depending on the climate conditions, it has been recorded that people have lasted longer than two weeks with no water supply. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest time a human has survived without water is 18 days.[citation needed]

In cold temperatures and with rain or snow the length of survival would be greatly reduced. Length of survival also depends on amount of physical exertion. A typical person will lose 2-3 liters of water per day in ordinary conditions, but more in hot, dry, or cold weather.

A lack of water causes dehydration, resulting in lethargy, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and eventually death. Even mild dehydration reduces endurance and impairs concentration, which is dangerous in a survival situation where clear thinking is essential. Your body requires 4L to 6L of water or other liquids each day in the wilderness to avoid dehydration and to keep your body functioning properly.[4]

Dark yellow or brown urine indicates dehydration. Because of these risks, a safe supply of drinking water must be located as soon as a shelter is built (or even before, depending on conditions). In a survival situation, any water supply may be contaminated with pollutants or pathogens (see Potability of backcountry water). Although little can be done to remove molecular contaminants, particles and microorganisms can be removed and/or killed (see Portable water purification).

There are some plants which will provide you with survivable sources of water. Most tree roots and vines contain lots of water, and can be purged by breaking into 3 ft. sections, and standing upright above a water catcher. Avoid any vegetable liquids which are cloudy, milky in appearance, or colored in any way.

Water can be gathered in numerous ways. In areas of abundant moisture, water can be scooped out of a creek or pond. Rainwater (which is typically safe to drink) can be caught in makeshift containers. If these easy sources are not available, a bit more ingenuity will be necessary. Water can be collected from condensation traps or solar stills. Clothing can be used to collect dew from vegetation. Tie a tee shirt to your ankle and walk through dew-covered grass in the morning or evening, wring out water and collect. This is a very effective water procurement method.

Although you cannot drink salty seawater, if you are near the beach, you can dig a sand well on the opposite side (from the sea) of a windblown dune. Below sea level, the sand well will fill with drinkable water. It may taste salty or brackish, but the sand acts as a filter reducing the salt content the further you dig inland.

Stagnant water can be made drinkable by filtration through a sieve of charcoal.

Animal blood is not suitable for rehydration as it may be diseased. In addition, because of the nutrients it contains, it requires energy to digest. Mammals all have blood-borne pathogens so the animal must also be cooked. Urine contains salt and other toxins, which also makes it unsuitable to drink, although it can be refined in a solar still.

A common survival myth is that cacti can be sliced open to obtain water. While some cacti do have fluid inside, it is a highly acidic solution and would induce vomiting if drunk.[citation needed] Some Cacti are very toxic and would kill you if drunk.

Many birds, mammals, and some insects, such as bees, ants, and mason flies, are reliable indications of water, either through a stream or a soaked patch of earth.

There are differences of opinion on whether or not to ration water when you have a limited supply. The U.S. Army survival manual recommends that you use your water whenever thirsty to avoid “voluntary” dehydration.[5] Other groups recommend rationing water through “water discipline”.[6]

In extremely dry environments, it is necessary to take extra care to prevent water loss by:

  • Breathing through the nose to prevent water vapor escaping through the mouth
  • Not smoking
  • Resting in the shade and avoiding strenuous labor during sunny, hot periods
  • Not eating too much (the human body uses a lot of water to digest food – especially fats and proteins)
  • Not drinking alcohol, which hastens dehydration

You can gather moisture in these ways:

from wikipedia.com


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