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How do you stop water from freezing in Dwarf Fortress?

Stop the elements from claiming your water source!

In Dwarf Fortress, embarking on cold or freezing biomes may create difficulties for you in the winter months. When the surface water freezes, you’ll be without fresh water for your dwarves, and while the average dwarf can survive on alcohol alone, injured and child dwarves need water to survive. Here’s how to stop water freezing in Dwarf Fortress.

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How to keep water from freezing in Dwarf Fortress

Water will only freeze in cold biomes if designated as “outside.” As a result, you can prevent water sources from freezing if they’re covered by a roof or redirected underground. With rivers and murky pools, this can be as simple as building a roof over them with floors or walls. Bear in mind that for murky pools, this will prevent them from refilling with rainwater, so it’s only a temporary solution.

Best places to store water in Dwarf Fortress

Additionally, you can create your own water sources by designating a Pit or Pond and telling dwarves to fill it with water. To do this, use the Zones function to designate a Pit or Pond. You’ll need at least one square on a floor next to an “open space.” Then you can designate this area as a Pond. This means that dwarves will use buckets to drop water into it. Use this to create an artificial Well inside your fort that can be used as a water source.

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Best water sources in Dwarf Fortress

Note that there are easier ways to find unfreezing water in your fortress than building roofs, redirecting rivers, or making wells. Digging down can reveal unusual caverns that sometimes contain water, ponds, and other elements. These areas won’t freeze without exceptional intervention, so they can be relied upon for a somewhat safe water source. Alternatively, an aquifer can be tapped as a near-unlimited water source if you're feeling really ambitious.

For more Dwarf Fortress guides, info, and news, check out How to make a tavern in Dwarf Fortress on Pro Game Guides.

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Image of Michael Hassall
Michael Hassall
Michael lives in the UK, but wishes he lived in Eorzea. A life-long gamer, Four years ago, he ditched a "real" job to write about video games for a living, and hasn't looked back. When not guiding players how to get the latest mounts, crafting recipes, and in-game goodies, he spends his time nurturing an unhealthy addiction to MMOs and gacha games.

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How do you stop water from freezing in Dwarf Fortress?

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