Capital of Mississippi Has Little or No Running Water

This week's flooding made long-standing problems worse in Jackson
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 30, 2022 11:05 AM CDT
Capital of Mississippi Has Little or No Running Water
Floodwaters covered the streets in some parts of Jackson, Miss., on Monday.   (AP Photo/Michael Goldberg)

For the 150,000 or so residents of Jackson, Miss., the water situation is a mess. The capital city's main treatment plant was on the brink of collapse, with most households having little or no water pressure. And if residents are lucky enough to have a trickle from their faucets, that water isn't safe to drink, reports the New York Times. Public schools have switched to virtual learning in the interim, and local businesses were scrambling. Coverage:

  • Emergency: "Until it is fixed, it means we do not have reliable running water at scale," said Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves in a briefing Monday evening. "It means the city cannot produce enough water to fight fires, to reliably flush toilets, and to meet other critical needs." Reeves declared an emergency and said the state was mobilizing to provide bottled water for residents and a tanker system for firefighters, but he warned that the logistics of such an effort were "massively complicated."
  • Latest trouble: This week, heavy rains caused the Pearl River to flood city streets, and though the flooding itself wasn't as bad as initially feared, it worsened already existing water problems in the city and affected the OB Curtis treatment plant. The facility had to drastically cut water production because of the flooding's effect on a nearby reservoir, reports WLBT.

  • Earlier issues: The city already had been under a "boil water" advisory for a month because of poor water quality, reports CNN. In fact, the Curtis plant has been operating on backup pumps for weeks because of unspecified damage to its main pumps. And in February 2021, the city's entire water system shut down during a winter storm, with aging pipes and mains bursting and leaving residents without water for weeks.
  • 'Failure': Gov. Reeves said the state began preparing over the weekend "for a scenario where Jackson would be without running water for an extended period," per CNN. "All of this was with the prayer that we would have more time before their system ran to failure," the governor said. "Unfortunately, that failure appears to have begun [Monday]."
  • The mayor: Reeves didn't invite Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba to his news conference, notes Mississippi Today. Earlier Monday, Lumumba declared a "water system emergency" but suggested the water-pressure issues might be resolved in a few days. Reeves painted a more dire picture. The GOP governor said he hadn't spoken directly with the Democratic mayor as of Monday evening, but he said the mayor had agreed to cooperate with state officials.
(More Jackson, Mississippi stories.)

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