We assessed water-body use by elephants through monitoring elephant signs around them. Elephant footprints and dung piles were recorded at 25 water bodies fortnightly for one year. Elephants preferred perennial water bodies and avoided those with temporary human dwellings. Human activities did not significantly affect elephant use of water bodies, suggesting low incidence of activities and behavioral adaptation to them by elephants. Elephant signs at perennial water bodies increased in the dry season. The monitoring technique was able to detect differences in elephant densities in two areas and establish the presence of herds even at low densities. We conclude that outside protected areas, large perennial water bodies represent a preferred resource for elephants, and that assessing elephant signs around water bodies is a useful technique for monitoring elephant presence for management and research purposes.