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Back to the drawing board to save water
We’ve managed to damage nature’s ‘filter’ with air, ocean, and soil pollution, and by destroying wetlands.

Dr Cindé Greyling, a University of the Free State (UFS) DiMTEC (Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa) alumni, studied drought mitigation with a strong focus on communicating important water-saving information. 

Can we run out of water?
Yes, and no, says Dr Greyling. “To our knowledge, water is not ‘leaking’ through our atmosphere. We have what we have, but that doesn’t mean we will have enough clean, fresh water forever. Nature has a magnificent way of purifying water through the water cycle. We, on the other hand, must use a lot of money and energy to purify water. Also, we’ve managed to damage nature’s ‘filter’ with air, ocean, and soil pollution, and by destroying wetlands. The other problem is a simple supply and demand scenario. More people will need more water, but not only that, population growth calls for industry development and increased food supplies – all of which require more water.”    

A war over water
Besides some Hollywood impressions, it is difficult to imagine a war over water, but it is possible. “Some experts are convinced that we are heading there, and others claim that such tensions already exist. Personally, I don’t favour these kinds of shock tactics (or truths) – social research has shown us that it rarely leads to behavioural changes. We can learn a lot from what was has been done in Cape Town. Although we all think people were bombarded with ‘Day-Zero’-scares, they were actually encouraged to adapt their behaviour with a communication campaign that hardly ever used the term ‘Day-Zero’. This approach mobilised citizens to reach record lows of water usage.” 

Adapt a new normal
Dr Greyling encourages the “new normal” set in motion by Capetonians. “Water consciousness is needed, even when the rain comes again. We’ve taken water for granted for too long. As consumers, we have the power to turn this situation around – drop for drop. Be aware about the amount of water you use, how you use it, and for what. Keep in mind that any wastage and pollution (of ‘dry’ things) also wastes and pollutes water. Generally, we need to behave better regarding consumption.”  

News Archive

UFS gives recognition to excellent researchers
2004-11-16

p>The University of the Free State will give recognition to excellent researchers at UFS on Tuesday 16 November 2004. “This recognition function will also serve as the first annual lecture in research excellence,” says Prof Frans Swanepoel, Director of Research Development Division at the UFS.

 

This is the first occasion of its kind in the UFS. It coincides with the university’s centenary celebrations. The recognition of excellent research shows the UFS’s commitment and innovative focus on research as one of its core functions,” says Prof. Swanepoel.

Recognition will be given in different categories. They are female researchers, black researchers, young researchers, C- and L-Rated researchers, researchers with significant research outputs, B-Rated researchers and distinguished professors in research.

The promotion of equity and development of research capacity of designated groups is one of the objectives of the UFS’s research strategy therefore the university is recognising the research achievements of 21 women and 16 black persons. Amongst these are Prof. Margaret Raftery (English and Classical Languages), Dr Liesl van As (Zoology and Entomology), Prof. Peter Mbati (head of the Qwaqwa campus) and Prof. Charles Ngwena (Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law).

The UFS is also recognising nine young researchers. They must hold a doctorate and have the potential to establish themselves as researchers within a five-year period based on their performance and productivity as researchers during their doctoral studies and/or early post-doctoral careers. Amongst them are Dr Esta van Heerden (Microbial Biochemical and Food Biotechnology) and Prof. André Jooste (Agricultural Economics).

Fifty-eight established researchers with a sustained recent record of productivity are receiving recognition in the C- and L-rated researchers’ category. Amongst them were Prof. Hennie van Coller (Afrikaans, Dutch, German and French) and Prof. Gert Erasmus (Animal- and Wildlife- and Grassland Sciences).

Prof. Francois Tolmie (New Testament) and Prof. Gina Joubert (Biostatistics) are two of the twelve researchers that are receiving recognition for having excelled in research outputs during recent years.

Nine researchers are acknowledged in the B-category for the international recognition they receive from their peers for the high quality and impact of their recent research outputs. Amongst them were Prof. Johan Grobbelaar (Plant Sciences) and Prof. Hendrik Swart (Physics). Prof. Grobbelaar focused in his research on limnology, algal biotechnology, plant stress and Prof. Swart focused on solid state physics and degradation mechanisms that are responsible for the degradation of field emission and TV displays.

Seven individuals are recognised for their exceptional achievements as researchers. Prof. Frederick Fourie, Rector, but previously in the Department of Economics, is recognised for his research in two policy areas: Political Economics, Government Finance and Fiscal Policy, and Industrial Economics, in particular analysis of the South African industrial structure and competition policy, where his research contributions played a key role in reforming South Africa’s competition policy.

Prof. Lodewyk Kock (Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology) focuses in his research mainly on pure and oxidised edible oil where yeasts are used as a study model. He obtained national as well as international recognition for this research program.

The UFS is also awarding the S2A3 Bronze Medal to recognise a Master’s degree student who has delivered outstanding research in one of the sciences. Mr Pieter Taljaard and Ms Tania Venter are recognised in this category.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
16 November 2004

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