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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

Seminar on mediation and peacemaking in Southern Africa
2011-09-21

Our university will join universities from five other African countries at a seminar in Lusaka, Zambia, from 23 - 25 September 2011, to discuss mediation and peacemaking in Southern Africa.  The Osaka University from Japan will also be present at the seminar.

The seminar follows the conceptualisation of a programme entitled the Southern Africa Oasis of Peace Project by Prof. Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in Political Science at our university, and Prof. Virgil Hawkins from Osaka University. The project aims to build networks between academics across the world who work in the broad field of conflict resolution and to offer good practical suggestions to policy makers on how to achieve sustainable peace in the Southern African region.
 
Prof. Solomon will deliver a paper on mediation within the context of a war, presenting the case of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), at the seminar. Senior academics from the universities of Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Dar-es-Salaam, Stellenbosch and Pretoria will also deliver presentations.
 
Prof. Solomon said that amongst the envisaged outputs of the seminar are a journal and regular conferences to bring together academics and policy makers.

The Southern Africa Oasis of Peace Project is being funded by the Asia Africa Science Platform Programme and the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science.

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