When the Tap Runs Dry

Conserving and saving water is one thing, but what happens when they shut off the supply of water. This could unfold as a direct result of a natural disaster, terrorism, or just plain lack of available potable water. No Water is a subject we don’t like to breach, especially here in America…heck, we got lots of water, right?

But, having lots of water leaves us vulnerable, because we don’t have to think about being without. This scenario of NO WATER is very real in Southern California and our gigantic infrastructure, that spans thousands of miles across the state, is aging. Add to this, the very real threat of a major earthquake could find all of us looking for water. If the distribution lines are severed, repairs could take weeks, and we must also consider our electric power grid. No power; no pumps; No Water!

Not to worry. God made an amazing element, WATER. It’s all around us in one form or another, in fact, it’s the ONLY element on this planet that can take on three different forms: Solid, Liquid and Gas. We are made of mostly water, and more than 3/4 of our body is composed of fluids, and this is why we so desperately depend on it. Through exertion, stress, heat and cold, we lose the fluid that keeps us functioning, and if not replenished, we become stressed; we’re tired, and our body begins to shut down…it’s called, Dehydration.

To stay hydrated and maintain proper efficiency, we must consume at least 2 liters of water per day.

Survival mode may kick in when the tap runs dry and there are many things to consider when “hunting” for those new sources of drinking water. Never substitute water with alcoholic beverages, urine, blood, or raw sea water. This, again, will accelerate dehydration and could cause death. Depending on where you are, and the particular season, here are some suggestions as to where you might find suitable drinking water.

Snow / Ice ~ It’s best to melt and purify first, before consuming snow and ice. We use a tremendous amount of energy turning it into a liquid for our body to assimilate, and eating snow and ice causes further dehydration.

Sea Ice Caution: Gray ice is an indication that it will contain large quantities of salt, whereas blue ice has little salt content.

Sea Water ~ Desalination is critical before drinking sea water!

Effective Desalination: Boil the water and catch the steam in a cloth, and wring out moisture.

Rain Water ~ Rainwater is typically clean, depending on how it is collected. Purify (see below) if there is a question to the quality of the water.

Beach Water ~ Water can be obtained by digging a hole.

Desert Water ~ Similar to a beach, water can be found below the surface, or at the base of rock outcroppings. Finding green vegetation is an excellent clue to locating water.

  • Cacti: Barrel Cactus, as well as most varieties, contain water. The water is obtained from the pulp inside, and must be mashed in order to suck the juice. Use caution around thorns, and do not eat the pulp!
  • Rock fissures: The depressions and holes within rocks could contain water from recent rains.
  • Observe wildlife: This is a good indication as to where water may be found. Birds tend to circle over sources of water, and their chirping in the evening and early mornings indicate that water is nearby.

Heavy Dew ~ Dew covered grasses are a great source of water and can be collected by tying an absorbent cloth around your ankles and walking through it. Proceed by wringing out the cloth into a clean container.

Observe Insects ~ Bees and ants going into a hole of a tree could indicate a water source.

Green Bamboo ~ Bend over a stalk, cut the top off, and tie the newly cut end to the ground. The moisture inside the tree will drain and drip freely. Collect in a clean container and purify.

Banana or Plantation Trees ~ Cut down the tree, leaving a 12-inch stump, and scoop out to form a bowl-shaped hollow. The moisture will soon collect and provide about 4 days of water. Like all exposed water sources, be sure to keep it covered to keep out bugs.

Coconuts ~ Young, green coconuts provide the best thirst quencher, but mature brown coconut milk is a laxative and should be used with caution. Also, do not drink coconut milk if it is sticky or bitter.

Plant Roots ~ All roots carry some sort of moisture, but again, USE CAUTION. Dig up the roots, cut into small pieces and mash into a pulp. You will then be able to extract the moisture.


Boiling water is the best method for killing all waterborne pathogens.

Povidone Iodine can also be added to water, but must be allowed to stand for a minimum of 30 minutes, or longer if water is cold. Double the povidone iodine, and let water stand at least 60 minutes, if water is very cold, or cloudy.

  • 10% Strength (Military Issued): 2 drops per liter
  • 2% Strength: 10 drops per liter

Chlorine Bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite) shall be used with caution, and again, water must be allowed to stand for a minimum of 30 minutes. Let stand for 60 minutes if water is cold, or cloudy.

  • 2 drops per liter

Potassium Permanganate (Condy’s Cystals) turns the water bright pink. This will tell you, after 30 minutes, that the water is purified. It will turn dark pink if you add too much, and this is unsafe to drink, but can be used as an antiseptic solution.



These are the unseen contaminants in water that are often times undetectable, even in clear water. Pathogens have no odor, or taste, and could cause a person extreme discomfort. The only effective way to neutralize them is by boiling your water, running it through a commercial filter, or using a reverse-osmosis filtration system. It has also been shown that iodine and bleach will not 100% eliminate water-borne pathogens.

  • Giardia ~ the symptoms consist of an explosive, watery diarrhea, accompanied by severe cramps lasting 7 to 14 days.
  • Cryptosporidium ~ the symptoms are more severe and prolonged than with Giardia, whereas the diarrhea could last from 3 days to 2 weeks.

Be prepared, for it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of When the Tap Runs Dry.

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