How to Find Water in the Desert


Finding What You Need to Survive in the Desert

Finding water in the desert is often easier said than done. Deserts are known for their scorching temperatures during the day and frigid conditions at night. If you’re an experienced outdoors person, you should be in good shape. But if you’re new to the vast terrain of the desert, use these tips to stay alive when water is anything but abundant.

Hold On to the Water You Have

Finding water in the desert is really about avoiding dehydration and making use of what little water you have. Your water supply will deteriorate quickly unless you’re smart about when and how you search for water. Avoid trolling through the desert and exerting yourself physically during the daytime. All of that excess heat will force your body to use up what little water it has at a rapid pace. It’s better to search for water when the sun is low in the sky.

Keep Your Eye on Animals and Insects

Animals and insects need water to survive just as much as you do. If you’re in doubt, use the native wildlife to point you in the right direction. Look out for animal tracks or insects buzzing through the air. Chances are that some much-needed moisture isn’t far behind.

Find the Lowest Elevation

While you’re not likely to find an oasis of water just sitting on top of the desert floor, you can find water just under the earth’s surface. Follow the desert until you reach the lowest point in elevation. A low valley or cluster of plants will be a promising indicator. The dirt should feel more like clay, rather than the sandy dunes that we commonly associate with the desert. Steep rock formations also tend to sit on the edge of dried riverbeds. Dig a few inches under the surface and the ground should give way to more moisture.

Patience Is Key

If you find a spot that looks promising, dig a large hole about a foot deep and look for any signs of water. If you find some, soak up the moisture with a piece of cloth and wring it out into a container. If at first you don’t succeed, wait a few hours and try again. Once you’ve dug the hole, there’s a good chance that more water will accumulate as day turns into night. Come back in the evening and see what Mother Nature provides.

Succulents for Nourishment

Cacti and succulents can be a vital source of water if you’re in a jam. Cut off the greenest or the most colorful part of a cactus and cook it over an open fire for just about 30 seconds to burn off the spikes. The water inside the plant will remain in tact. Eat the plant carefully to avoid any jagged edges.


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