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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

Professor suggests San place-name book
2011-09-28

 

At the inaugural lecture of Prof. Raper were, from left to right: Dr Choice Makhetha, Vice-Rector: External Relations (actg); Prof. Theo du Plessis, head of our Department of Language Management and Language Practice; Prof. Raper; and Prof. Lucius Botes, Dean of our Faculty of Humanities.
Photo: Stephen Collett

Prof. Peter Raper, Honorary Professor: Linguistics, in the Department of Language Management and Language Practice at our university, delivered his inaugural lecture on Tuesday, 27 September 2011. Prof. Raper focused on the topic of “Interpretations and translations of Bushman (San) place names” and he recommended the establishment of a chair for Khoikhoi and Bushman name studies at the UFS. Prof. Raper said that, until about 2 000 years ago, the Bushmen and their ancestors were the only inhabitants of southern Africa and that, presumably, all place names in the region were of Bushman origin. Prof. Raper also suggested the publication of a dictionary of Bushman place names which will contribute to restoring and preserving Bushman toponymic, linguistic and cultural heritage.

In his inaugural lecture, Prof. Raper distinguished between the terms Bushman and San. He said “the term Bushman was for a long time considered an insult and San was preferred. Recently, Bushman became preferable and San is considered an insult”.

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