How Long Can You Survive Without Water?

Jeremy Bowyer
Written By Jeremy Bowyer

Jeremy Bower is a generational survivalist and expert outdoorsman.

Water is one of the things the human body needs in order to be able to work properly. Without water, a person can only survive for a few days. However, there isn’t a reliable way of knowing how long you can live without water because it also depends on the environment and activity levels as well. The only thing we can know is that if you go a certain length of time without drinking water, you will end up dying from dehydration.

drink water

Dehydration takes affect quickly if your water intake is next to nothing. Symptoms of dehydrations tart with extreme thirst in fatigue which eventually lead to organ failure and then death. Trying to survive without water is a completely different question than how long can you survive without food. Unlike how long can you go without food, going with no water means a person can survive only a matter of days.

Starting with feeling slightly sluggish and thirsty, by day three with no water your health will be at an all time low, eventually leading to your brain and your heart shutting down and failing.

Dehydration effects each person differently. There have been multiple studies done at research facilities like George Washington University into how much water an adult can lose before dehydration sets in. We all have different tolerance levels. Here we are going to see how long can you live without water in most, generalized situations.

How Long Can You Live On Average With No Drinking Water?

Humans aren’t built to function in a healthy way with no sort of water intake. Our vitals such as blood pressure levels are based on the amount of water we take in. Our bodies need water to carry out a lot of the essential functions we need to keep us healthy like balancing out our internal temperature down to something as basic as keeping our cells alive.

water disaster

The general rule is that you could go weeks without food, but only about 3 days with no water. However, there are factors that affect how much time you can go without taking in water. The first is your age. The second is what your activity levels are, as this will form the basis of how quickly your body will lose water. The third is how your overall health is. The fourth is how heavy and tall you are. The final factor will be whether you’re a man or a woman.

What you are eating on a daily basis can also affect your thirst and the amount of water you need to drink. If water-rich foods are on the menu for you like fruit, vegetables and juice, you may not need to have as much water as someone who is sticking to bread, grains and other dry food.

The environment around you will also affect how much water your body will need to function. Trying to live in a very hot climate with no drinking is bad for your health. Sweating will cause thirst, which leads to more water being needed.

What Are The Effects Of Not Having Any Water?

Your body will continue to lose water if you are in a hot environment or if food that is not rich in moisture is not on the menu. Water is needed for our body to work and it’s involved in almost all of the functions it carries out on a daily basis including:

  • regulating your body temperature through breathing and sweating
  • helping digestion by breaking down food as well as forming saliva
  • helping to balancing out the pH levels in your body
  • lubricating bone joints
  • helping the brain use and create hormones
  • eliminating waste
  • delivering much needed oxygen to the brain as well as around the cells in your body

Without any water the human body won’t be able to work properly, and so will crease to function altogether. Dehydration effects come hard and fast, and will hit even harder if you are in a hot environment. Your body is constantly using water to control your temperature as well as producing sweat. Not being able to do these will dangerously increase your body temperature. This puts a lot of pressure on the other fluids in your body, especially your blood.

Adding pressure to your blood will follow with a significant drop in your blood’s volume. There won’t be as much of this vital fluid circulating around your body, so blood pressure drops by a significant amount. With this severe drop comes unconsciousness and even death.

Water also helps the cells in your body follow their natural path of removing toxins through your breath and your urine. Not being able to share out these poisons properly due to the lack of water in the body will cause the toxins to build up. A buildup like this will harm your vital organs, causing kidney failure, more toxic buildups and eventually leading to death.

The Risks Of Being Dehydrated

Water should always be on the menu to survive, but in some emergency situations like hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters, this vital life fluid can be hard to come by. With a lack of water, the signs of dehydration will rear their ugly head very quickly.

water need

It begins with having a dry mouth and feeling very thirsty. Being thirsty is the natural reaction your body has to tell you to drink water. Not listening to this signal will not provide your body with the right amount of water to function and stay healthy.

Ignoring the signs of needing water your body sends out means that the body will respond in a more severe way. The brain sends a signal to the rest of the body to start conserving water by urinating less. Kidney function will also slow down. Then you will start to notice changes in the way you feel. Sluggishness and a lack of energy is one of the first signs, followed by a headache, dizziness, stiffness in your joints, changes in your bloods pressure and then seizures. Extreme dehydration causes swelling on the brain, sending you into shock and making you unresponsive.

bottles water

A Summary

Water and hydration is vital for any human life. Whilst you can go weeks without taking in any food, it’s only a matter of days before a lack of water will kill. Either drinking water or eating foods that have a high level of water in them can stave off dehydration and help you to survive in an emergency situation.

Without taking in any water dehydration, which is much more severe and hard hitting than starvation, will set in and affect your body in a really negative way. Depending on what environment you are in and the levels of exertion you are having to give, you can notice the signs of being dehydrated in only a few hours. Suffering from illnesses like vomiting or diarrhea, the body loses water even faster. The key to survival in this situation is to find a water source as quickly as possible.

If you drink when your body is thirsty it’s more than likely that there won’t be at risk of dehydration. Living somewhere that is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes or tsunamis means you may run the risk of being without water more than the average person. If you do live in one of these areas, have a survival kit with a store of water as well as purification tablets ready to go so you’ll never have to experience dehydration when trying to live.


purification filter

How long Can You Go Without Water Before You Die?

The longest anybody has survived without drinking water is one week, but this would have been while they ate foods high in water at the same time. Without any water entering your system at all, the longest you would live is 3 days.

Can You Survive Without Water For A Week?

No, not unless you are eating foods rich in water at the same time. Your bodies vital organs will begin to break down after only a day or two, making it impossible to live longer than a few days without any water.

What Happens If You Don’t Drink Water?

If you don’t have water, even for a few hours, you suffer from something called dehydration. This is a survival mode your body triggers to store up energy and water in order to keep you alive. However, after a short period of time your body can’t cope without any water, and you will end up succumbing to dehydration and die. However our information can help you prevent dehydration and keep you safe in a survival situation.

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