The human body can survive about three weeks without food, though those three weeks will be torment, but when it comes to water you only have about three days before your body gives in, so it is clear which the priority is. You have to remember though, that you are trying to conserve what little water you have in your body, so it would more beneficial for you to rest and only move when it is cool enough. When the time is right, after assessing your situation and prepping yourself for the whole survival situation, only then should you even think of venturing out to search for water. To help you, here are a few tips about water in the wilderness.
Finding Water in the Desert
It really depends on which desert, but to make it general enough I will make this article a bit oversimplified, to the point that I will assume that the readers have never been to the desert nor have experienced any survival situation.
There are a few things you should look out for in order possibly find water, and these are animals, bugs, and plants. When you see birds or animals roaming around, you are most likely close to a water source, try to follow them to the source, although I really don’t normally recommend following something like a dangerous predator, they could lead you to life saving water and also quite possibly food, so prepare for a fight! (Remember to know your limits though, if you are going to fight a predator be sure you can win)
Bugs could also be a good indicator of water near the vicinity, but the water they lead you to might be stagnant and undrinkable, and even if it looks drinkable you might still need to filter and purify it (which we will cover later on in this article), and even after that it still might be risky to drink it.
Plants are probably one of the best indicators of water though, but you will need to know what kind, unfortunately I wouldn’t really know which dessert you are in so let’s keep it simple. Find the greenest leafiest plant around, and if the area does not have any visible water around, start digging. If you hit moist sand/soil you are getting close.
What to Do When You Find Water
If the water source you find is clearly safe, like running water from a spring or river, you can pretty much go ahead and drink it, though you probably should at least filter it out with a cloth and maybe boil it if possible before doing so. Also, it would probably be a good idea to stay near it while you plan out your survival and how to get rescued.
But if you find a source of water that doesn’t look very safe, and you don’t seem to have an immediate need for it, like you just got lost or still have some water in your canteen, I would suggest for you to drink it later by bring some with you, it would also be beneficial for you to run it to filtering and purification before storing it. This would be a last resort to keep you going, while you look for a better source, or wait for rescue.
This is a simplified version of “water in the wilderness”, I will later on revisit this in a more detailed manner after we have talked about a few more basic things regarding survival. So until then try not to get lost, or better yet don’t let your pride get you into a survival situation.