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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

Groundwater management vital for groundwater sustainability
2016-11-09

Description: Dr Yolanda Kotzé Tags: Dr Yolanda Kotzé

Dr Yolanda Kotzé, Affiliated Researcher in the
UFS Institute for Groundwater Studies, is passionate
about the management of groundwater.
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

An interest in groundwater resource management ignited the spark for a PhD research thesis by Dr Yolanda Kotzé, Affiliated Researcher in the Institute for Groundwater Studies (IGS) at the University of the Free State (UFS).

Her PhD research thesis titled, A Framework for Groundwater Use Authorisations as Part of Groundwater Governance in Water Scarce Areas within South Africa, was the result of her interest in groundwater resource management. Dr Kotzé identified the agricultural sector as one of the major water users, and a decision was made to conduct research within this sector.  

Research funded by Institute for Groundwater Studies
Groundwater is water found underground in cracks and spaces in soil, sand, and rocks. It is stored in, and moves slowly through geological formations of soil, sand, and rocks (aquifers). The National Department of Water and Sanitation was indirectly the client for this research. The research project was funded by the IGS. Given the current drought, effective groundwater resource management can be achieved within all sectors through sustainable abstraction and use without over-abstraction.

“Groundwater can be effectively managed
in the agricultural sector by sustainable use,
monitoring the quantity of groundwater use,
and measuring groundwater levels,”
said Dr Kotzé.

Research addresses improvement of groundwater management
Her promotor, mentor, teacher, and friend, the late Prof Gerrit van Tonder, introduced her to the field of Geohydrology, and especially to groundwater resource management. “With my research, I made a significant contribution to the improvement of groundwater governance and groundwater resource management, as well as to the handling of groundwater use authorisations for irrigation purposes in South Africa,” said Dr Kotzé. With this significant contribution, she attempts to address the phenomenon of poor groundwater allocation and groundwater resource management by means of a framework. The development of this framework has shown the value of action research in an attempt to find a solution to a problem. “Groundwater can be effectively managed in the agricultural sector by sustainable use, monitoring the quantity of groundwater use, and measuring groundwater levels,” said Dr Kotzé.

The methodology of the research consisted primarily of action research, which has a five-phase cyclical process. The research was Dr Kotzé’s application for a PhD in Geohydrology at the UFS in 2012. The research was completed in 2015.

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