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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 Rector participates in National Arbour Day
2011-09-02

 

Gerard Hoogendoorn from Physical Resources at the hole for the jacket plum tree that was planted on our Bloemfontein Campus on National Arbour Day.
Photo: Anja Aucamp

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, planted the jacket plum tree (Pappea capensis) on our Bloemfontein Campus during an event.

According to Mr Gerard Hoogendoorn from our Department of Physical Resources this hardy, evergreen tree, which reaches a height of between two and eight metres, is a worthy addition to any garden; for bird life as well as fauna. “Planting a tree has a positive influence on our green heritage,” he said.

Prof. Jansen, who started his study career as a botanist, said that he loves anything green. “Trees with their roots remind me of our university rooted in a rich past. Trees, with their new leaves once a year, also reminds me of the transformation of our campus and our country. Young people compare with the trunks of the trees that link the past (roots) with the future (leaves). South Africa’s future depends on you young leaders,” he said.

The tree-planting initiative is one of the universities sustainability initiatives to make staff as well as students aware of protecting their environment, amongst others.

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