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26 March 2018 Photo Pixabay
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

Community Service Summit
2008-10-20

Community service must heal our campus

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Community service and community service learning at the University of the Free State must be put in the forefront of healing our divided campus and our divided country.
This was the message from the Acting Rector Prof Teuns Verschoor when he opened the Community Service Summit that was held in Thaba Nchu on 9 and 10 October 2008.
“The importance of community service is that it heals those who help others because the needs of others are more important than our own needs when we render service to those who are worse off than ourselves,” prof Teuns said.

He said community service has already helped to change the UFS in terms of the academic experience of students and staff and in terms of the perceptions that various communities hold about the UFS.

The summit was attended by more than 35 representatives from different Faculties and departments of the university, representatives from the communities in the Motheo and Xhariep District Municipalities as well as the project managers of Lebone Land and the Bloemfontein Life Change Centre.

Several issues pertaining to the Community Service Policy of the UFS, as well as other related issues were discussed which will culminate in a Statement of Intent that will be handed to the Executive Management of the UFS. This is being done in response to the challenge of the acting rector that the Summit will make a meaningful input in the repositioning process of the UFS.

One delegate described her participation in the Summit as a life changing experience. “This articulation of her experience has captured the views of a lot of the delegates. It shows that there is a big need to cement the importance, commitment to and implementation of Community Service and Community Service Learning at the University of the Free State. With the support of our partners we are determined to make a difference in the lives of the people of the Free State and beyond,” said Rev Kiepie Jaftha, Chief Director Community Service at the university.



 

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