“Water, water, everywhere, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.” ― Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Water, that is to say freshwater, is arguably the most important resource of the ATLAS world. Without water to cook, our meals consist only of berries and charred meat. Without water to make Dyes, our sails and clothing remain drab and dull. Without water, we cannot explore beyond our home islands.
The seas in Atlas are made of salt water. While that is great for sailing ships and swimming around, it is useless for drinking to sustain life.
Freshwater lakes and streams can be found on some islands, most notably in the Freeport regions, and falling from the skies during storms on the open ocean. Many islands have no sources of freshwater and many regions have no rainfall.
To stay hydrated without a freshwater source, the player can dig for underground water. The player has to lay down on green ground (sand and rock does not work) and left click. After performing up to three rounds of the mini game a small stream of water will appear (20, 40 or 60 Units, depending on successful minigame rounds). To get more freshwater (up to 600) the player can use a shovel instead.
See "TL:DR" section below on how to find water from the ground in a hurry.
Waterskins hold 100 units of water but leak their contents over a few hours.
Water Jars hold 200 units of water and do not leak, but weigh 3.5 kg each.
Water Barrels hold up to 6000 Units of water but weigh 75 to 195 kg when filled. Water Barrels used to pose a great hazard to a raft or other light sailing vessel as they are very heavy when full, changed with Patch 18.84. Placing too many on your vessel can overload the vessel and cause it to sink. Since 18.84, if they are empty they weigh 75 kg and gain 20 kg per 1000 water for a total of 195 kg when full.
To fill a Waterskin or Water Jar, during a Storm (Rain) or while standing in a freshwater source, press e on the container in inventory or activate the container in the Hotbar. Filled waterskins and jars may be kept in the player's inventory or placed in a Storage Box on the boat's deck. It is not necessary (and not recommended) to transfer the water to barrels when at sea.
TL:DR - Finding Fresh Groundwater, Simplified.
In an emergency situation, you'll need to find water quickly. Follow these steps:
- Move to green ground. It's best of the texture on the ground is green, not just fluffy grass.
- Press X to lay down, or equip your shovel. You should see some stats on the bottom left of your screen indicating whether water is availble here.
- Click on the ground with your left mouse button. This will start the mini game.
- The mini game brings up a horizontal bar with a white target area somewhere along it randomly, and moving trigger. Left click as quickly as possible trying to click when the trigger is within the target area. This happens 3 times... if you fail the first time, you need to start over. The game will repeat up to 3 times, and the more times you are successful the more water you will get.
- When you are successful at least once, a water spout will appear on the ground. Quickly stand up (it's easier to drink standing) and target the waterspout and use e to drink.
You can repeat this process as many times as you need, but you'll need to move a significant distance to find ground with water again.
Note, alternatively, instead of drinking, you can hold "E" and open the waterspout's "inventory" and place a waterskin in it's open slot to fill the waterskin and collect the water.