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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

Evolution of information and communication technology discussed as part of Darwin lecture series
2009-09-04

 
Lectures on the evolution of the information and communication technology were recently presented by the University of the Free State's (UFS) Departments of Communication Science, Chemistry, Physics and Computer Science and Informatics. The lectures form part of the lecture series entitled The story of life and survival to celebrate 200 years since the birth of Charles Darwin presented by the UFS, Central University of Technology (CUT) and the National Museum. The lectures focused on communication in a manufacturing environment, the knowledge explosion and the broadband universe. It was preceded by an exhibition and demonstrations of various information and communication technologies, which was visited by about 1 000 secondary learners from schools in and around Bloemfontein. Here are, from the back: Prof. Jorrie Jordaan, CUT, Prof. Pieter Meintjes, Department of Physics at the UFS, Prof. Jannie Swarts, Department of Chemistry at the UFS and Ms Mercia Coetzee, Department of Communication Science at the UFS.
Photo: Lacea Loader

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