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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 Council wishes outgoing rector well
2008-09-05

Statement by Judge Faan Hancke, Chairperson of the UFS Council

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) hereby expresses its heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Prof. Frederick Fourie for his contribution to building and developing the UFS. His association with the UFS stretches over a period of 40 years – first as a student, later as a lecturer, dean, vice-rector and finally as rector and vice-chancellor.

When the University was operating at a loss during 2000 and it was in a financial crisis, he came up with a financial turn-around strategy which took the UFS out of this crisis to a position where it can annually spend considerable amounts on strategic projects. This led to large amounts being invested in the academia and especially research. As a result, the UFS’s research capacity and research equipment has been expanded. Since 2003 research outputs increased with about 50%, which is a great achievement for the UFS’s researchers and its faculties.

Progress was also made with diversity, the UFS’s balanced multilingualism policy in the academia as well as administration, employment equity, the transformation plan and the institutional charter. Under his leadership there was an upgrading and extension of the infrastructure, academic buildings and facilities as well as support services and student facilities.

Prof. Fourie has an excellent intellect and exceptional abilities which can still make a huge contribution to the improvement of the South African society. As a result of personal consideration and after 4 decades’ association with the UFS including 5 years in a leading position, Prof. Fourie decided to step down. The Council respects this decision and wishes him success and best wishes.

The process of appointing a new rector and vice-chancellor will follow the normal recruitment procedure of the UFS. In terms of this procedure a representative committee of Council, which includes all stakeholders of the UFS, will consider applications that are received.

Applications will be invited through an open and targeted process of recruitment advertising, locally, nationally and internationally to broaden the pool of applicants.

Within this process Council has expressed the view that applications from the designated groups in terms of Employment Equity must be encouraged.

It is also Council’s wish that this process be completed as soon as is possible, within the approved procedure.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
12 September 2008
 

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