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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

Delegation from university in Mexico visits the UFS
2009-09-01

 
From the left are: Prof. Schalk Louw, Prof. Wijnand Swart, Dr Victor Pinto, UACH, Dr Lizel Hugo, National Museum, Dr Nahum Marban, UACH, Ms Henda Landman, Department of Zoology and Entomology at the UFS, Ms Louise Coetzee, National Museum, Mr Vaughn Swart, Department of Zoology and Entomology at the UFS, Dr Samuel Ramirez, UACH, and Dr Driekie Fourie, ARC-Grain Crops Institute in Potchefstroom.
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe

 
A delegation from the Autonomous University of Chapingo (UACH) in Texcoco, Mexico visited the University of the Free State (UFS) recently to hold exploratory discussions with various scientists affiliated to the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, including the Centre for Plant Health Management (CePHMa). The visit builds on an institutional agreement that was signed between CePHMa and the University of Chapingo in 2006. The Mexican delegation was hosted by Prof. Wijnand Swart, Cluster Director: Technologies for Sustainable Crop Industries in Semi-arid regions, and consisted of Dr Victor Pinto (entomologist), Dr Samuel Ramirez (entomologist) and Dr Nahun Marban (nematologist). Prof. Schalk Louw from the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the UFS chaired a meeting with the three Mexican visitors and colleagues specialising in in acarology and nematology from the National Museum in Bloemfontein and the ARC-GCI in Potchefstroom, respectively. Discussions focused mainly on opportunities for collaborative research and student exchange between the aforementioned institutions and University of Chapingo.

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