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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

Health Sciences dean’s term extended
2008-09-17

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) has unanimously decided to extend the term of office of the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Prof Letticia Moja, by another five years.

Prof Moja became the first black woman to be appointed dean of a medical faculty in South Africa in 2003.

She has been at the helm of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the UFS for the past six years, first as the Acting Dean and then as the Dean. Under her leadership the faculty has achieved great successes and remains one of the leading Health Sciences faculties in South Africa.

However, she still faces many challenges that she hopes to overcome in the next five years to fully accomplish the mission of the faculty to promote the well-being of the community by means of education, research, community service and comprehensive health care delivery.

She hopes to achieve this by attracting and retaining dedicated and well-qualified staff to the faculty, supporting students in all aspects of their life, implementing regular assessment of the teaching and learning environment, mentoring young researchers and increasing the intake of students from previously disadvantaged communities.

Prof Moja is the current vice-president of the Health Professions Council of South Africa and the treasurer of the central region of the South African Association of Health Educationalists.

She is also the director of the UFS’s Grow Our Own Timber project which is aimed at developing black academics. She is a member of the Medical and Dental Council and also serves on its executive committee.

Her current term of office expires on 30 November 2008.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
17 September 2008
 

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