Flooding has swamped Jackson, Mississippi’s deteriorating water system, knocking out or contaminating the drinking water for 150,000 of the city’s citizens, forcing the state’s public schools to turn to online instruction, and driving some companies into a state of emergency.
Tate Reeves, the governor of Mississippi, advised Jackson citizens not to consume the water.
The State Department of Health published recommendations for Jackson water users. In addition to avoiding drinking tap water, people should not make ice from it, put it in drinks, or use it for cooking unless it has been boiled. They should only use bottled water to brush their teeth.
In Hinds County, where Jackson is located, the state government and the National Guard set up locations to provide water, but some of those locations ran out of water while people were waiting, according to CNN.
Jackson has always had issues with its water supply. When pipes froze in February 2021 as a result of exceptionally cold temperatures, the system failed. When cloudiness in the city’s water was discovered in late July, the state issued a boil water advisory, according to CNN.
The most recent problem started this week when floods in the Pearl River shut down the city’s primary water treatment facility. Many consumers were unable to flush their toilets due to the extremely low water pressure.
On August 29, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba declared a water system emergency, to which the state and the federal governments issued emergency directives.
The city said in a news release on Thursday that repairs are being made at the water plant.
According to the announcement, “areas closest to the facility are seeing practically normal pressure.” “Areas farther from the plant and those at higher altitudes continue to have little or no pressure. With rising tank levels, this pressure will rise.
However, it is unclear when the boil water advisory will be rescinded or when the city-owned water infrastructure can undergo long-term repairs.
State Representative Ronnie Crudup Jr. claimed the weather made the already critical issue with the water system worse.
“It’s been piling up for years, but in the last two to four weeks, we’ve gotten an extraordinary amount of rain, and it just kind of created this devastation,” he told CNN.