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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

Statement following a protest march on the Main Campus
2006-09-07

Statement by UFS management following a protest march on the Main Campus

A protest march by a small number of SASCO members took place at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Main Campus in Bloemfontein today (Wednesday 6 September 2006).

At the end of the protest march a memorandum was handed to the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr Natie Luyt.

The UFS Management remains committed to provide quality education to all students at the UFS. The management is also committed to the transformation of the campus and to creating a non-racial, multilingual and multicultural student life.

It must be remembered that certain processes are already in place to address some of the issues raised, such as a Transformation Plan Task Team, which is in the process of drafting a comprehensive transformation plan for the UFS.

Discussions are also already taking place between management and student structures, including SASCO, about certain issues raised in the memorandum.

However, the management will respond to the memorandum using the appropriate channels that exist on campus to communicate with all student formations, including SASCO.

The UFS management wishes to thank the SASCO members for the peaceful and non-violent way in which the protest march was conducted and for which the management had granted SASCO permission.

The UFS management appeals to SASCO to make use of the channels that exist to address the concerns of their members and find workable solutions in the interest of a quality university and quality student life.

Media release
Issued by: Anton Fisher
Director: Strategic Communication
Cell: 072 207 8334
6 September 2006

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