Former SAS Survival Instructor Bob Podesta Talk To Us About How To Find Water …

Paul Pinkerton
Image credit: A-Squadron
Image credit: A-Squadron

Here’s a great article from Bob Podesta, who it’s fair to say know’s what he’s talking about when it comes to Survival and adventuring around the world.

Here at Outdoor Revival HQ we’re excited to be publishing another of Bob’s articles, watch out for more from Bob on Outdoor Revival

Even though Bob is based in the UK but the principles and tips are universal and valid no matter who you are or where you are.

Water Of Life

– Up to 60% of an adult human body is made up of water.
– The NHS recommends we drink 1.6 to 2 liters of fluid each day to stay healthy.
– Without water (fluids from one source or another) a human cannot survive more than 3-5 days.

Water is essential for survival.

A reliable means of sourcing water is therefore of vital importance. Here are some points that can help you locate and collect water:

  • Water always finds the lowest level so head for lower ground.
  • Lush vegetation is a good indicator of abundant water. But beware of wilted or dead plants as this could mean polluted water.
  • Animals and birds need water too so observe wildlife; e.g. listen for frogs croaking.
  • Be aware of the weather; if it rains be ready to collect as much as you can.
  • Dew can be a very reliable source of water. Mop up the moisture using an absorbent rag and when full wring out into a container.
  • Snow and ice can be melted. But do not put them straight into your mouth as you will waste your body heat/energy and they may be contaminated.
  • Look for pools of rainwater trapped in the hollows of rocks.

Don’t wait for a ‘survival situation’ to arise; every time you go for a walk look around you and think where you would be able to source water.

IMPORTANT: don’t be tempted to drink any water before first sterilising it. First, filter your water to remove particles of dirt. Any material with a dense weave can be used – the smaller the weave the better. Where possible add a layer of charcoal (not ash) to your filter. Finally, ALWAYS boil your water before drinking it.

All water must be boiled.

If you have been unsuccessful in finding water you can make a solar still. A solar still works on the principles of evaporation and condensation.

Here’s how to make one: –
Dig a hole, 2-4ft wide and a foot or so deep.
If available place vegetation in the hole. (Note: the still will work without the vegetation but will produce less water).

At this point, you can also pour seawater, urine or known contaminated water into the hole.
The evaporation/condensation process removes any contaminants and produces pure water – BUT to be safe continue to boil all your drinking water.

Place a container on the ground in the middle of the hole.
Stretch a plastic sheet across the hole.
Place a small stone weight in the middle of the sheet directly above your container and depress slightly to create a ‘V’ shape pointing down into the hole.

Seal all the edges of the sheeting with soil or rocks.
Wait. As the sun heats the air and ground the moisture under the sheet will begin to evaporate and then condense on the underside of the sheet. The now pure water will run down the inside of the sheet and collect in your container ready to drink.

Bob makes a solar still.

Until next time this is ‘A’ Squadron signing out.

Bob Podesta
‘A’ Squadron Ltd

If you want to know more about Bob and A-Squadron here’s a few links:


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jack-beckett is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival