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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

SRC drawing deeply from the African continent’s well of wisdom
2013-06-01

 

Some of the SRC members who are visiting Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. From left are: Tshepang Lenka, Johan Steyn, Thabiso Molawude, William Clayton, Sibongile Mlotya, Tshepo Moli and Pieter Coetzee.
Photo: Thabo Kessah
14 June 2013

The student representative councils (SRC) from the Bloemfontein and Qwaqwa Campuses are currently visiting Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya as part of the university’s Global Leadership Programme (GLP). The student leaders left on 9 June 2013 for a two-week trip to these countries, meeting with NGO’s, businesses and political leaders to gain insight and leadership skills. Their trip will also include a visit to the Kigali and the Nyamata Genocide Museums.

The University of the Free State has a long history of mentoring and fostering student leadership through international partnerships.The GLP was established in 2011 by Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector. The programme identifies the need for dynamic and innovative leadership in a country faced with many challenges.

During 2011 the SRC had the opportunity to tour the United States, but this year’s aim shifted to partnering with African Institutions. The focus is currently on the African continent and the lessons that can be learned from each of these countries. During the students’ visit to Rwanda – where they will spend six days – they will pay special attention to elements of leadership and reconciliation. This theme ties closely into the process of transformation and reconciliation at the Bloemfontein Campus.

The SRC has a travel-blog where they constantly post information, facts and their experiences during their visit to these African countries. They are set to return on Sunday 23 June 2013.

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