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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

UFS medical students reach out to the community
2011-04-16

 

The smiles on the children at Beyang Bana Pele Creche in Mangaung were blindingly bright, after their new classrooms and playground were unveiled on Friday 15 April. The creche was renovated by a group of third-year medical students from the UFS.
Photo: Earl Coetzee

A group of third-year medical students from the University of the Free State was responsible for many smiling little faces when they unveiled a entirely renovated crèche to its little students on Friday, 15 April.

Reinhardt Erasmus, Fathima Vawda, Veneshree Govender, Antoi Roets, Riaan Calitz, Motlalepula Mabizela, Tertius Potgieter and Chanel van der Westhuizen were the students responsible for the massive renovation work that went into the Beyang Bana Pele Creché in Mangaung.

The students tackled the project as part of a community service project and ensured that the 30 children who attend the crèche can look forward to coming to a safe healthy environment every day.

According to Riaan Calitz, they started the project at the beginning of the year by doing a needs analysis and talking to the children’s parents and teachers. They also involved the aid of an architect and quantity surveyor to calculate the needs of the crèche.

Next, they had to search for sponsors for their work, and struck it lucky when the Windmill Casino agreed to donate R100 000 to their project. They also managed to raise a further R5 000 as well as approximately R50 000 in goods and services donated by various other companies.

This money was enough to improve the safety at the crèche, install safe gas equipment in the kitchen, improve the insulation to ensure a warm winter, install new playground equipment and host several health and safety workshops.

“It took a lot of late nights and early mornings,” Calitz said. “Some of us also had to return from our holiday early, but it was worth it.”

He says the gratitude from the school’s children and teachers, as well as community members, who would stop and thank them for their help while they were busy working, makes it all worthwhile.

The students plan to stay involved with the crèche and say the renovation plan was drafted in such a way that when they move along, another group can simply pick up from their work with ease.

Mrs Sarah Mothoana, the crèche matron, thanked the students as well as everyone who assisted them in “creating a wonderful, safe and healthy environment for the children.”
 

 

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