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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

Kovsie students bring warmth to the Bloemfontein community
2013-06-01

 

Michael van Niekerk and Melissa Lucas, prime of Akasia, making up the packages.
Photo: Linda Fekisi
14 June 2013

It goes without saying that winter in Bloemfontein is scarcely pleasant, especially if you do not have the proper clothing. Members of the Kovsie community have taken a step towards giving a helping hand to those in need. Share the Warmth Winter wonder box is a project that was launched by the SRC City Residences and Commuter students to help keep the cold away. Students and staff of the University of the Free State (UFS) donate a package which includes a blanket, beanie, gloves, socks and sweets, to be handed out to the children in need.

Share the Warmth Winter is the brainchild of Michael van Niekerk who is the SRC member in charge of the portfolio. He received the idea for such a project from an initiative he is a part of at Mooiplaas Township. “People make shoeboxes with presents inside for children and hand them out during Christmas. I thought it would be a great idea to share the warmth in winter, especially in the freezing Free State,” he said.

The team managed to collect more than 100 items in just a few weeks. The distribution of the boxes will take place around the Bloemfontein area. Teams will visit shelters, while others will hand out the boxes directly to children in places like Heidedal and downtown.

“I am very delighted by the response and think that this is something that needs to grow bigger and bigger to include the entire Bloemfontein every winter,” said Michael when asked if it is a once-off project. People who would like to bring warmth to the little ones, can still send boxes or packages to the SRC Building or send an email to vanniekerkm@ufs.ac.za for more information.

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