5 Ways to Find Water

5 Ways to Find Water

Water is one of the most important resources to have in a survival situation. According to the Rule of 3, a person can only go three days without it. While this time frame is not absolute it does help to highlight the importance of water. 

The problem is that in a survival situation you may not be near an abundant source of water like a river or lake. Would you know how you would find water in such a situation? If not, then read on as this article discusses 5 ways to find water when you are not near an obvious source. 


Collect Rainwater 

Other than using a body of water such as a river or lake, collecting rainwater is the next obvious choice. Rainwater is almost always safe to drink, and it is easy to collect. However, once the water hits the ground or any other object it will begin to pick up contaminants. Use a poncho, tarp, or any other relatively clean material to capture and funnel rainwater into collection containers. 



Just because we do not see water above ground does not mean there isn’t water just below the surface. To find water in this manner, dig a hole in an area where there is green vegetation, where the elevation of the ground is at its lowest in the area, and along the outer banks of a dry river or creek bed. 

Use a shovel, stick, or your hand to dig a hole that is no more than a few feet deep. If the soil remains dry at this depth, move on to another spot. If the soil becomes wetter, then dig a little further. When you stop digging, the water in the ground should begin to seep into the bottom of the hole where it can then easily be transferred into a collection container.  


Capture Transpiration 

Trees and plants lose water through their leaves via a process called transpiration. It's kind of like when people sweat. The water is then lost by evaporation. You can take advantage of this process by using a plastic bag and tying it around a plant or a bunch of tree leaves. As the water leaves the plant, it will have nowhere to go and will be collected in the bag. This process does not produce a lot of water so several bags should be set up to collect as much as possible. 


Make a Solar Still 


Solar still uses a greenhouse effect to collect water from green vegetation. To make a solar still, first dig a hole that is several feet wide by a foot or two deep. Line the bottom of the hole with whatever green vegetation that you can find. Then place a collection container on top of the vegetation and in the center of the hole. 

Next, cover the hole with a piece of plastic, being sure to weigh the edges of the plastic down. Lastly, place a small weight, such as a small stone or pine cone on top of the plastic directly over the collection container. As the hole warms up, water will evaporate from the vegetation and move to the underside of the plastic. 

Since the plastic is angled slightly downward (due to the weight in the center) the water will travel in that direction and drop into the collection container. 

This same principle can be used to turn saltwater into fresh drinking water.  



This process is probably the most involved and requires the most materials. Distillation uses heat and condensation to separate substances from a liquid. The setup requires a heat source, a container to boil water in, a way to capture the steam, and a way to cool the steam into liquid water and funnel it into a collection container. This method works great if you are surrounded by saltwater because as the water boils, the salt is left behind and the steam that is produced is freshwater that can be consumed. 


Water is an incredibly important and precious resource that our bodies require daily. Knowing how to find water as well as being able to filter and purify it should be a skill that everyone strives to master. 

Thanks for reading and hopefully the methods listed in this article will help to keep you hydrated! 

Let us know what your thoughts are about sourcing water in a survival situation by leaving a comment below.




Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. Bryan is a published author with Fox Chapel Publishing. In 2019, Bryan authored the book, Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. In March 2021, he released his second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival.

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