Friday, September 2, 2011

Continuity Insurance - Water Locations

Today’s post is a little long but important. Keeping in mind the dangers listed in my previous post, these are many of the different locations to find water.

Copyright ©2010 Noel Napolitan

In Your Home

Do you know the location of your incoming water valve? You'll need to shut it off to stop contaminated water from entering your home if you hear reports of broken water or sewage lines. To use the water in your pipes, let air into the plumbing by turning on the faucet that is situated at the highest level in your house. A small amount of water will trickle out. Then obtain water from the faucet that is situated at the lowest level in the house.

To use the water in your hot-water tank, be sure the electricity or gas is off and open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Start the water flowing by turning off the water intake valve and turning on a hot-water faucet (to let air into the system). Do not turn on the gas or electricity when the tank is empty.

A few other quick sources for water include: Melted ice cubes; Water drained from the water heater faucet, if the water heater has not been damaged; Water dipped from the flush tanks (not the bowls) of home toilets, as long as it has not been sanitized with ‘in-tank’ bowl cleaners. Bowl water can be used for pets, again, if leave in sanitizers have not been used. Liquids from canned goods such as fruit and vegetable juices work well also.

Once you have established your shelter and used every indoor source of water, the next step in a survival situation is to find a good outdoor water supply.  Initially you should look for ground water using the following methods.

Creek beds

These are easily discernible in dry areas because of the relatively green vegetation and taller trees following the course of the creek.  Unless there has been recent rain in the area the creek bed will probably be quite dry.  You may be lucky enough to locate damp sand or mud at the bends of the creek or by digging in the creek bed at a likely spot.  As a last resort, water can be extracted from the damp sand or mud by soaking a rag in soil and wringing out the water into a container.

Rock Formations

If there is any water seepage from the ground, it is usually to be found near rock formations, where the country is rugged and undulating.  It may also be found in some apparently dry areas.  Rocky areas are also ideal for catching rain.  Rain soaks very quickly into the soil, whereas it can lie in pools on a rocky surface for as long as two weeks.

Salt Lakes

After rain has fallen, the top 3 mm of a salt lake is fresh water.  It can be siphoned off by using a grass straw or tubing from your survival kit.


These have been erected in most farming and station country throughout the state at such locations as wells, dams and soaks.  These can be seen from a long distance and usually have animal tracks leading to them.  Check to see that the water at these mills has not gone salty.

Animal Trails

Animals need water the same as humans and they will travel great distances regularly each day, leaving trails to the water source.  Where a large number of trails converge together, it would indicate that the water was not far distant.


The collection is tedious, but of some value in heavy grassland.  Tie clumps of grass or cloth around ankles and walk around in dew-drenched grass at dusk or dawn.  Squeeze off moisture into a container and repeat until enough is gathered.  If you have a vehicle, wipe down the vehicle with a cloth.

Transpiration Method

Water can be obtained by placing clear plastic bags over the leafy branch of a non-poisonous tree and securing the end of the branch.  Ensure there are no holes in the bag [seal these with black tape, band-aids, etc.].  The action of the sun on the plastic will cause water to be drawn from the leaves and run to the lowest part of the bag.  Do not disturb the bag to collect the water, simply cut a small hole in the bag then reseal it.  The leaves will continue to produce water as the roots draw it from the ground.

The water should be drained off every two hours and stored.  Tests indicate that if this is not done the leaves stop producing water.  If there are no large trees in the area, you can break up clumps of grass or small bushes and place them inside the bag.  The same effect will take place.  If this is done the foliage will have to be replaced at regular intervals when water production is reduced. Note: Ensure that these bags receive maximum sunshine at all times. Ensure that exposed roots are tested for water content.  Soft pulpy roots will yield the greatest amount of liquid for less effort.

Coastal Water Sources

Sea water may only be consumed after it has been distilled.  You can usually obtain drinking water by digging high up on the beach above the tide mark, or behind the first sand hills.  It will taste brackish and should only be used in small quantities.

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