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This article is about an older version of DF.

Water is a fluid found all over the world. It flows from mountain springs, forming the world's oceans, lakes, and rivers. Water falls as rain and snow, and freezes into ice. Water is home to aquatic creatures. Some creatures can swim in water, and air-breathing creatures can drown in it. If dwarves do not drink they will become dehydrated (thirsty) and if they do not quench that thirst then they will eventually die. Injured dwarves will only drink water collected directly from a river, though normally dwarves prefer their booze.

In addition, water can be murky, which is a sub-standard drinking source. This may cause dwarves to have unhappy thoughts if they drink from it, making them "complain about the nasty water". This problem can be avoided by building wells (though this will not work for injured dwarves, which will insist on their water being collected directly from a river).

When water floods over the ground, the floor becomes muddy, which can be used for farming, and produces tower-caps.

Water is displayed with the symbols and ~, sometimes colored different blues, white, or red to show ripples, blood and flow.

Any item which falls into a river or pool disappears and is lost forever.

Water in Fortress Mode[edit]

In addition to drinking, pools and rivers can be used for fishing. Water can also be bridged, and filled channels can also be used to make a moat.

Water can be moved by using channels and floodgates next to rivers. Care should be taken when moving water around outside channels, as it can (and will) create an infinite flood that will drown everybody in your fortress.

Water in Adventurer Mode[edit]

In this version, outdoor rivers never appear in Adventurer mode unless you are visiting one of your previous fortresses. However, you will still encounter murky pools outside and cave rivers in some caves.


Murky pools and the outdoor river can freeze into ice during the winter if your embark region gets cold enough, rendering them unavailable for fishing and drinking. When spring is approaching, you will be warned that the ice is becoming thin and your dwarves will avoid walking on it.


Most climates experience rain. Rain will slowly refill murky pools that have dried up during the summer.