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Desert survival

The ability to transport and find water is perhaps the most crucial element for survival in the desert. In extreme temperatures the human body can require over a gallon of water a day.

Bedouins are nomadic people. They move on to fresh pastures when their grazing lands are exhausted. They cannot afford to to sit tight where water is not plentiful.

Constantly on the move in a harsh environment they carefully planned their routes across desert landscapes, calculating precisely how far their water supply will stretch between wells.

The goat-skin bag has long been the traditional method for carrying water and, once drawn from deep wells, experience dictates how severely water must be rationed.

Tricks to finding water in the desert:
  1. An old Bedouin trick is to turn over half-buried stones in the desert just before sun up. Their coolness causes dew to form on their surface.
  2. Desert grass will also form dew in the pre-dawn with your tongue. It can be soaked up with a cloth and wrung out into a container.
  3. Where sand dunes meet the sea digging above the high tide mark might reveal a thin layer of fresh water sitting atop a heavier layer of salt water.
  4. Flies and mosquitos are a giveaway for a water source and bees fly in a straight line to and from water up to 1000 metres away.
  5. Look out for pigeons and doves - they can only exist near fresh water
  6. Water seepage in canyons, small pockets of water in sandstone rock formations and digging at the base of rocks and mountains can produce water
  7. Even contaminated water has its uses. It can be used to soak your clothing and reduce water loss from perspiration.

Water | Food | Shelter | Clothing | Transportation | Navigation | Hospitality

Water is essential
  A water supply is essential in the desert  

Lawrence of Arabia