Zimbabwe Turns to Boreholes Amid Groundwater Level Concerns

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority says it will drill 35,000 boreholes by 2025 countrywide, focusing on parched rural areas where erratic rainfall has affected both people and livestock. However, there is concern about groundwater levels. Credit: Ignatius Banda/IPS

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority says it will drill 35,000 boreholes by 2025 countrywide, focusing on parched rural areas where erratic rainfall has affected both people and livestock. However, there is concern about groundwater levels. Credit: Ignatius Banda/IPS

By Ignatius Banda
Bulawayo, Jul 22 2022 – Faced with cyclical droughts and low water levels in supply dams, Zimbabwe is turning to boreholes for relief, raising concerns about already precarious groundwater levels across the country.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority says it will drill 35,000 boreholes by 2025 countrywide, focusing on parched rural areas where erratic rainfall has affected both people and livestock.

The climate change-induced water crisis has not spared the country’s national parks, forcing sector officials to turn to groundwater for relief.

A 2021 review by the Southern African Development Community’s Groundwater Management Institute said Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare had 28,000 registered boreholes, with 80 percent of the population “dependent on groundwater for potable supply.”

“With such dependency, it becomes imperative that the resource is well monitored for sustainable management, and to enhance well-informed decisions at policy formulation level,” the report said, adding, “groundwater is a finite source.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently launched a nationwide Presidential Borehole Scheme targeting urban areas where some residents have gone for years without running water.

The drive to turn to underground water supplies comes despite earlier warnings by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) that the country needed to be cautious in tapping groundwater.

The post-Mugabe administration has upped the drilling despite what experts say is continued poor rainwater seepage to raise the groundwater table, highlighting the country’s struggles with climate change and its adaptation efforts.

This is happening despite concerns from experts regarding what they have called “limited knowledge on aquifer recharge areas and rates,” further exposing the long-term sustainability of groundwater resources.

“If you over-abstract groundwater, you will obviously deplete it,” said Professor Innocent Nhapi, a consultant and climate-resilient development scholar.

“We need to increase our knowledge on groundwater resources by establishing a dedicated institute for training and research on groundwater. We then need to use modern techniques for quantifying the groundwater resources we have. From this knowledge, we need to prepare groundwater management plans for different sub-catchments,” Nhapi told IPS.

The country’s major towns, including the second city Bulawayo, continue to face crippling water shortages, with residents questioning the water quality from the municipality boreholes.

It has become customary for residents to experience rolling water cuts by the local municipality. This has meant long queues at boreholes, with some wondering why the boreholes take so to fill the buckets.

“Water does not pump as quickly as it used to. We take too much time in the queue,” said Nomazulu Nxumalo, a local home keeper.

The situation is even dire in low rainfall rural areas in the country’s southwest, where villagers and civil servants, such as teachers, share one borehole.

“You need plenty of strength to pump water these days,” said Leonard Maphosa, a teacher based in Lupane, about 170km from Bulawayo.

“I think the water is now far, far below. We have a well that has since been filled with sand because it does not have any more water,” Maphosa told IPS.

Officials remain concerned about the ability of the country’s aquifers to store water, considering rainfall’s erratic spells.

“Short, intense rainfall whilst providing a lot of water doesn’t provide enough time for the water to infiltrate and percolate into aquifers. A greater percentage of the water flows away as quick runoff,” said Tirivanhu Muhwati, a climate scientist and project coordinator at the country’s climate and environment ministry.

“This, however, does not mean that the boreholes should not be sunk as an adaptation measure. It simply means that the boreholes have to be fitted with water-use efficiency mechanisms, and demand-side management measures have to be instituted,” Muhwati told IPS.

For years, experts and government officials have noted that a lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s water crisis despite seasonal floods is the construction of dams. Still, as in many other sectors, authorities have cited a lack of resources for constructing them.

Despite population expansion, big cities such as Bulawayo have not built any new dams since the country’s independence in 1980, forcing authorities to sink more boreholes for relief.

“As more surface runoff is expected, the country should intensify the building of dams to capture the surface water,” Muhwati told IPS.

“This should be supported by the associated water conveyance infrastructure to where the water is required for agricultural, commercial, and domestic use. Groundwater can then be used only as a last resort,” he said.

Zimbabwe is not the only country in the region turning to groundwater.

The World Bank says due to climate variability, which has altered the availability of surface water, southern African countries are seeking relief by sinking boreholes, but the resource is already compromised by “threats of depletion.”

According to the World Bank, “at least 70 percent of the people living in southern African countries rely on groundwater as their primary source of water.”

For Zimbabwe, where another estimated 70 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas, groundwater is the only available resource highlighting the country’s challenges towards meeting Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6), which seeks to ensure the availability of water for all by 2030.

IPS UN Bureau Report


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Dickey’s Grows International Presence with Second Pakistan Opening

Dallas, July 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Dickey's Barbecue Pit is continuing to expand its global footprint as the world's largest barbecue concept introduced its slow–smoked meats and savory southern sides to more BBQ foodies in Pakistan! Now more and more BBQ lovers can enjoy Dickey's Barbecue Pit menu filled with Texas–style barbecue, right in their hometown without having to travel to the Lone Star State. Be sure to make a BBQ pit stop to Dickey's new Pakistan location for some good mood food, available for carryout, curbside pickup and delivery!

The Texas–style BBQ brand celebrated the grand opening of the second Pakistan location in Lahore's Packages Mall on July 18. The new restaurant marks the second Dickey's in Lahore as part of a Master agreement with Mazhar Zaidi to develop multiple stores throughout the region.

Zaidi expects to open 20 Dickey's restaurants total in just 10 years and is targeting further development in all major Pakistani cities such as Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Rawalpindi. He boasts a successful track record at international development organizations with a franchise opportunity of launching eight Subway stores in North Pakistan.

"There are several top–ranking international food franchises operating "" and doing very well "" in Pakistan, but none of them offer anything like Dickey's Legit. Texas. Barbecue.," Zaidi said. "Eating meat frequently is part of Pakistani culture, so Dickey's one–of–a–kind, slow–smoked barbecue fulfills a need, and the brand can stand out as a market leader. Our first Dickey's restaurant was a huge success, and we're proud to open another and serve the best barbecue around to more Pakistanis."

To learn more about Dickey's, follow Dickey's Barbecue Pit on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Download the Dickey's Barbecue Pit app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

About Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants, Inc.

Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants, Inc., the world's largest barbecue concept, was founded in 1941 by the Dickey family. For the past 80 years, Dickey's Barbecue Pit has served millions of guests in 44 states Legit. Texas. Barbecue. At Dickey's, all our barbecued meats are smoked onsite in a hickory wood burning pit. Dickey's proudly believes there's no shortcut to true barbecue and it's why our name isn't BBQ. The Dallas–based, family–run barbecue franchise offers eight slow–smoked meats and 12 wholesome sides with 'No B.S. (Bad Stuff)' included. Dickey's Barbecue has 550 locations across the United States and eight other countries.

Dickey's was named to Newsweek's 2022 America's Favorite Restaurant Chains list and USA Today 2021 readers' choice awards. Dickey's won first place on Fast Casual's "Top 100 Movers and Shakers" list, been named a Top 500 Franchise by Entrepreneur and named to Hospitality Technology's Industry Heroes list. Led by CEO Laura Rea Dickey, who was named among the country's 50 most influential women in foodservice in Nation's Restaurant News, was recognized by Fast Casual's Top 100 Movers and Shakers list and honored by Dallas Business Journal. Dickey's Barbecue Pit has also been recognized by Fox News, Forbes Magazine, Franchise Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine and QSR Magazine. Dickey's Barbecue is part of Dickey's Restaurant Brands which has more than 700 restaurants nationwide including brands Wing Boss, Trailer Birds, Big Deal Burger and bbqathome.com. DRB is led by CEO Roland Dickey Jr. For more information, visit www.dickeys.com.

# # #


Time for a UN Human Rights Leader

By Andrew Firmin
LONDON, Jul 22 2022 – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights sits at the top of the UN’s human rights system. It’s a crucial role for the victims of violations and the many civil society activists who look to the UN system to set and apply human rights norms, monitor the human rights performance of states and hold rights violators to account.

And there’s a job vacancy. In June, the current High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, announced she wouldn’t be seeking a second term when her current time in office ends in August.

Her announcement was unsurprising: no one has held the role for two full terms. The High Commissioner can find themselves trying to strike impossible compromises between upholding rights, keeping powerful states onside and respecting the UN’s cautious culture.

They can end up pleasing no one: too timid and cautious for civil society, too critical for states that expect to get away with violating rights.

Bachelet is no stranger to the charge of downplaying human rights criticism. Most recently her visit to China attracted huge controversy. Bachelet long sought to visit China, but when the trip went ahead in May, it was carefully stage managed by the Chinese state, which instrumentalised it for PR and disinformation purposes.

Key qualities for the job

Looking ahead, it’s time to think about who should do the job next. The UN system doesn’t have long to identify and appoint Bachelet’s successor, and candidates are already putting themselves forward.

But the process must be inclusive. There’s a clear danger of the selection process leading to the hurried appointment of a candidate acceptable to states because they will not challenge them.

To avoid this, civil society needs to be fully involved. Candidates should face civil society questioning. The criteria by which the appointment is made should be shared and opened up to critique.

Michelle Bachelet, the outgoing High Commissioner for Human Rights. Credit: OHCHR

Civil society has plenty of ideas about the qualities the ideal candidate must have. Above all, the holder of the role must be a fearless human rights champion who promises to stand independent of states and not be afraid of upsetting rights-violating states or the UN’s bureaucratic niceties. They should be a public figure and leader prepared to cause a stir if necessary.

This means they should have a strong grounding in international human rights law, crucial at a time when several states are reasserting narrow concepts of national sovereignty as overriding long-established international norms. The UN system needs to get better at defending international laws against this creeping erosion.

The successful candidate should also have a proven background in human rights advocacy and working with the victims of rights violations. The candidate should be fully committed to social justice and to defending and advancing the rights of excluded groups that are most under attack – including women, LGBTQI+ people, Black people, Indigenous people, migrants and refugees, and environmental rights defenders.

They must always be on the side of those who experience rights abuses, acting as a kind of global victims’ representative.

The style they should adopt in office should be one of openness and honesty. They should be willing to work with civil society and listen to criticism.

They should work to embed human rights in everything the UN does, including its work on peace and security, sustainable development and climate change. They should develop the currently underutilised mandate of the office to act on early warning signs of human rights emergencies and bring these to the attention of other parts of the UN to help prevent crises, particularly since the UN Security Council is so often deadlocked.

They should stand up for the UN’s various human rights mandate holders and special experts, and push for them to be able to make genuinely unimpeded visits to states where they can scrutinise rights that are under attack.

While diplomatic skills are important, the approach of backroom negotiations and trade-offs, the style of which Bachelet was accused, should be avoided. This is not a technocratic role. It is about showing moral leadership and taking a stand. The next High Commissioner should not try to negotiate with states like China. They should lead the condemnation of them.

A pivotal moment

This is a potentially pivotal moment. The need has never been greater. Human rights are being attacked on a scale unprecedented in the UN’s lifetime. When it comes to the key civic rights – the rights to association, peaceful assembly and expression – the global situation deteriorates year on year.

Around the world, 117 out of 197 countries tracked by the CIVICUS Monitor now have serious violations of these rights.

If civil society’s calls are not heeded, the danger seems clear: the position could drift into irrelevance, becoming hopelessly compromised and detached from the moral call that should be at its centre.

It’s time for the UN to show it’s serious about human rights, and guarantee that rights are at the core of what it stands and works for. This also means it must revisit the funding situation: the UN human rights system may have well-developed mechanisms but they’re chronically underfunded.

Human rights get just over four per cent of the UN’s regular budget despite it being one of the UN’s three pillars, alongside development and peace and security, making the work highly dependent on voluntary contributions, which are never sufficient.

The next High Commissioner must push for progress in funding and in the realisation of the UN’s Call to Action on Human Rights. To help ensure this, the UN’s human rights commitment must first be signalled by the appointment of a fearless human rights champion to its peak human rights role.

IPS UN Bureau


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The writer is Editor-in-Chief at CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance. He is one of the lead authors for CIVICUS Lens and the 2022 State of Civil Society Report

Enernet Global selected to build, own and operate hybrid power plant for Global Atomic’s Dasa mine in Niger

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Enernet Global Inc. ("Enernet"), a leading hybrid independent power producer, has commenced early engineering for a hybrid power plant for the Dasa Project currently under development by Global Atomic Corporation ("GLO"). Upon completion, Enernet will build, own, operate and maintain the hybrid power plant at the Dasa site in the Republic of Niger.

The early engineering works include solution optimization, equipment selection, preliminary design and configuration of the Sonichar grid network connection. This agreement enables the parties to engage collaboratively and builds certainty into GLO's project budget and program. Enernet will complete the early engineering in late 2022 following which the construction phase of the power plant is scheduled to begin.

Once operating, the mine will require 12 MW of consistent power and Enernet will deliver a hybrid power plant including 16 MW solar, 15 MW battery energy storage, a 16 MW back–up diesel generation plant and advanced controls integrated with grid power provided by the Niger Government owned Sonichar utility. The system will provide approximately 35% of power requirements from renewables, making Dasa one of the greenest operations in Africa, abating 27,000 tonnes of CO2e per annum.

Enernet is focused on decarbonizing the world's supply chains and will own and operate a hybrid plant that meets GLO's energy needs while maximizing renewable generation at no capital cost to GLO. The project will be delivered by Enernet's Africa team, headquartered in Johannesburg. Enernet also has operations in Australia, Caribbean and the Philippines and works across mining, commercial and industrial, island development and remote community projects.

Stephen Roman, Chairman and CEO of Global Atomic commented, "Our commitment to a cleaner and greener environment is absolute. At the Dasa Project, the flagship of our uranium division, we will produce uranium for nuclear power generation and to help countries reach their zero carbon targets. We are committed to develop Dasa as the largest and highest grade uranium producer in Africa and Enernet will help us to become one of the mining industry's leaders in low emissions. Enernet's approach will help reduce our up–front capital costs, support Niger by engaging its state–owned utility Sonichar as our primary energy source, introduce solar as a legacy to the region and utilize our own generators as a backup for the health and safety of our workers and to assure our investors that we will be able to operate continuously without interruption."

"We are honoured to work with Global Atomic on this journey and salute their commitment to a low–carbon future. This will be one of the greenest operations in sub–Saharan Africa," said Paul Matthews, Enernet's CEO. "This is another big step by our Africa team to deliver sustainable, renewable projects and drive toward our vision to decarbonize supply chains around the world."

Matthew Silvester, Enernet's Director of Development for Africa, added, "We are excited to begin engineering works, with start–up generation scheduled in 2022 and the hybrid plant to be delivered in 2023. This marks another major step towards green generation as a standard in Africa and brings benefits to the customer, the local community and shareholders."

About Enernet Global Inc
Enernet Global is a distributed energy service provider that finances, builds, owns and operates microgrids and drives the adoption of renewable energy, battery storage and energy efficiency solutions that displace CO2 emissions. Built on the company's proprietary software platform, Enernet Global's Energy–as–a–Service offering benefits on and off–grid customers by providing less expensive, more resilient power solutions at no capital outlay for customers.

Enernet has operations in Australia, the Philippines, the Caribbean and Sub–Saharan Africa, where it focuses on power solutions for sectors that include island development, mining, commercial and industrial, remote communities, agriculture, utilities and hospitality.

About Global Atomic
Global Atomic Corporation (www.globalatomiccorp.com) is a publicly listed company ("Global Atomic" or the "Company"; TSX: GLO; Frankfurt: G12; OTCQX: GLATF) which provides a unique combination of high–grade uranium mine development and cash–flowing zinc concentrate production.

The Company's Uranium Division includes four deposits with the flagship project being the large, high–grade Dasa Project, discovered in 2010 by Global Atomic geologists through grassroots field exploration. With the issuance of the Dasa Mining Permit and an Environmental Compliance Certificate by the Republic of Niger, the Dasa Project is fully permitted for commercial production. The Phase 1 Feasibility Study for Dasa was filed in December 2021 and estimates Yellowcake production to commence by the end of 2024. Mine excavation began in Q1 2022.

Media contact:
Paul Matthews
Chief Executive Officer
Enernet Global Inc.
Office: 3 East 80th Street, New York, NY 10075
Contact number: +1 541 292 6422
Email: pmatthews@enernetglobal.com

Global Atomic Key Contacts:

Stephen G. Roman
Chairman, President and CEO
Tel: +1 (416) 368–3949
Email: sgr@globalatomiccorp.com
Bob Tait
VP Investor Relations
Tel: +1 (416) 558–3858
Email: bt@globalatomiccorp.com

UN to Host Over 190 World Leaders & Delegates — Despite Threats from a Deadly New Covid-19 Variant

The UN’s empty corridors when the world body went into a lockdown mode because of the Covid-19 pandemic beginning March 2020. Credit: United Nations

By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Jul 22 2022 – The United Nations is planning to host a high-level “in-person” General Assembly session, September 20-26, with over 190 world leaders and delegates listed to speak, including heads of state, heads of government, high-ranking ministers and senior officials.

The world body is apparently on a risky path, with hundreds of delegates due in New York for the opening of the 77th session—and, most worryingly, at a time when a new Covid-19 variant BA.5 is sweeping across the United States, including New York.

In a letter addressed to the President of the General Assembly, E. Courtenay Rattray Chef de Cabinet, says “while there is strong support for the return to a pre-pandemic General Debate, as reflected by the level of inscriptions by Member States in the provisional list of speakers– and an improvement in the environment as compared to the last two years– we also recognize that we are not free from the Coronavirus and its impact.”

“As such, there is a need to be prudent in our facilitation of the General Debate and High-level Week.”

Under a business-as-usual scenario, occupancy at UN Headquarters will increase significantly this September, particularly in meeting rooms and in the General Assembly and Conference buildings.

“With a view to mitigating this impact, our planning assumptions reflect an emphasis on basic protective measures and a decrease in the number of attendees, as much as reasonably possible”, the letter said.

On July 21, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre formally announced that US President Joe Biden, who is scheduled to address the General Assembly on September 20, tested positive for COVID-19.

“He is fully vaccinated and twice boosted and experiencing very mild symptoms. He has begun taking Paxlovid. Consistent with CDC guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time,” she added.

In a July 20 report, Cable News Network (CNN) said “in the United States, BA.5 has become the dominant strain and is driving a significant spike in cases — more than 120,000 a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), though experts say that number may be more like 1 million, given the underreporting of home test results.

Europe, meanwhile, has seen a tripling of new Covid-19 infections over the past six weeks, with nearly 3 million reported last week, accounting for almost half of all new cases worldwide. Hospital admissions in Europe over the same period have doubled.

“The end of the last remaining restrictions on international travel and return of large gatherings, like music festivals, are among the factors helping the virus to spread, experts say. And the number of cases may actually be higher than data shows because countries have significantly pared back testing and surveillance, making it difficult to judge the true extent of the current surge’, said CNN.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the spike in infections was a harbinger of an even worse situation to come, calling on countries to urgently reintroduce mitigation strategies before it was too late.

“It’s now abundantly clear we’re in a similar situation to last summer — only this time the ongoing Covid-19 wave is being propelled by sub-lineages of the Omicron variant, notably BA.2 and BA.5, with each dominant sub-lineage of Omicron showing clear transmission advantages over the previously circulating viruses,” WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said in a statement.  

Though intensive care admissions remain relatively low, as infection rates rise among older populations, deaths are mounting — almost 3,000 people a week are dying from Covid in Europe.

But in order to protect delegates and staff alike, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, having considered the recommendations of the UN’s Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Committee, has decided on the following guidelines:

    ** As a condition of entry to the compound, all persons will be required to attest that they have not had symptoms of, or been diagnosed with, COVID-19 in the last 5 days.

    ** Masks are to be worn by all attendees at all times when indoors, except when directly addressing a meeting or consuming food/beverages.

    ** Apart from a limited number of high-level side events, for which preparations are well under way, side events are to be conducted virtually or off-site.

    ** United Nations departments and offices will not be hosting or co-hosting in-person side events or luncheons during the high-level week.

    ** Bilateral booths will be available with seating for 2 principals and 6 advisers (3 per side).

    ** Permanent Missions are encouraged to manage COVID-19 cases and determine any subsequent action regarding case exposures among their own attendees and guests, including notification to other delegations or to the President of the General Assembly.

    ** United Nations staff who are not required to be on-site to support the proceedings will be mandated to work remotely for the full week.

Further information, including the number of access cards provided for the General Assembly Hall, will be contained in an Information Note for delegations that will be issued as A/INF/77/4.

“The Organization will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 metrics in New York City. Therefore, the steps outlined above remain subject to modification should conditions change, as the Secretariat continues to ensure that the work of the Organization is conducted as safely and effectively as possible,” letter said.

After several on-again, off-again pandemic lockdowns, the United Nations returned to near-normal beginning March 2022.

A circular from Guterres said “based on the new guidelines, we are now able to institute associated changes in our workplace, returning to full operational capability while still prioritizing the health and safety of personnel, and balancing the operational needs of the Organization”.

Guided by the Senior Emergency Policy Team and the Occupational Safety and Health Committee in New York, mask use was voluntary throughout the UN building and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), mostly denied entry since March 2020, were given access to the UN premises.

IPS UN Bureau Report


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