No Water No Survial – Plain & Simple
About 70% of the human body is made up of water. It’s essential to every single function of life in both humans and on the planet as a whole. An average person can go more than two weeks without food but 2-3 days without water can lead to severe life-threatening complications. That’s in an ideal situation. Increaseing or decreasing the temperature can shorten that down from days to hours. In a zombie apocalypse (or any major disaster) having access to clean drinkable water is paramount for survival. Unlike other disasters which are generally localized, zombies are a moving disaster. So setting up around a non-moving source of water may not always be an option.
It is considered healthy to drink between 5-10 glasses of water a day. On average this equates to about 1.5-2 liters of water a day. While that doesn’t seem like much this average doesn’t take into account people in are losing water through sweating at an expedited pace (working outside, in the gym, etc…). A human body is capable of producing more than 1.5 liters of sweat in an hour. Which means unless you’re casually avoiding zombies in an air-conditioned office your water intake will need to be much higher. Somewhere between 3-5 liters depending on climate and altitude.
Dying From Dehydration Is One Of The Worst Ways To Go
Not having enough water to fulfill bodily demands leads to dehydration. In most developed countries dehydration is fixed with a quick trip to the store for a sports drink (not the best choice) or bottled water (better, but clearly you hate the environment). In developing countries it is one of the leading causes of death in children and adults. In a zombie apocalypse everyone is now living in a developing country.
Early or mild dehydration can show itself as dry mouth, thirst, weakness/dizziness, headaches, decreased urination and a host of other symptoms. Moderate to severe presents as an inability to urinate, vomiting, muscles spasms, fainting, or a quickened and weak pulse among others. In the worst case scenario heart failure and death can occur.
It takes 1-3 days to go from mild to severe.
So, where can you find water once all the stores have been raided? That depends on your environment. If you’re in a rural area or wilderness you may have access to streams,rivers, or lakes. Green vegetation can be a good sign water is close by. Also animals may lead you to a water source, but understand you might not be the only thing tracking that animal. Mud can also mean groundwater. While it doesn’t look desirable, straining it through some cloth will help. In an urban setting, scavenging for water bottles may prove valuable (especially in the early stages of the disaster). Once that fails, the water will still run in homes and apartments even if the electricity doesn’t
Making sure your water is clean is another huge priority. Just because it comes out of a pipe (especially once water treatment plants cease to function) doesn’t make it drinkable. Charcoal filters have become common place in most households, either as separate containers or built into a water dispenser. It’s possible to make your own on the fly using plastic bottles, charcoal, sand, and some cloth. This will allow you to improve the clarity and taste of found water. Also remember to boil any water you plan on drinking. This is the only way to ensure you remove pathogens.
Water Creation, Storage & Conservation
Other tricks that might prove useful regardless of setting, is collecting available rainwater, gathering condensation, and vegetation. Rainwater can be collected using a piece of plastic, spread open and angled to drain into a container. If you are somewhere that has humid days and cool nights, condensation can be gathered by leaving a plastic container out during the day and covering it at night. Water vapor will cool and condense at the bottom. Fruits and vegetables can also supply water as well as extra nutrients.
Once you have clean water transporting because the next area of concern. Zombies are on the move and you need to be ready as well. Unfortunately given the amount of glass and plastic refuse found in any urban (and lots rural/wilderness) environment it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a suitable container. Make sure you clean it before using it. If it’s glass, heat it thoroughly. Plastic is harder, but if you can find baking soda or vinegar you makeshift a cleaning solution to rinse the bottles in. Also keep in mind that 3 liters of water equates to about 6.6 pounds of water. That is a lot of weight to be moving with every day.
Being prepared now with the skills to build water trapping devices or a supply of charcoal filters on hand can give you a big head start in the impending apocalypse.