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Jackson, Mississippi’s capital, without water ‘indefinitely’

Jackson’s water treatment facility is failing, leaving about 180,000 residents without water

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A Jackson, Miss., Fire Department firefighter puts cases of bottled water in a resident’s SUV, Aug. 18, 2022, as part of the city’s response to longstanding water system problems. On Monday, Aug. 29, 2022, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said he’s declaring a state of emergency after excessive rainfall worsened problems in one of Jackson’s already troubled water-treatment plants.

Rogelio V. Solis, Associated Press

The water taps in thousands of homes across Jackson, Mississippi, are closed “indefinitely” due to failures in the city’s treatment facility, cutting about 180,000 residents from the natural resource.

What’s happening: The treatment facility has been in disrepair all summer, but things came to a head over the weekend when floodwaters from the Pearl River breached the treatment plant, according to BBC News.

“Do not drink the water,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Monday. “In too many cases, it is raw water from the reservoir being pushed through the pipes.”

According to Mississippi Today, Jackson had been relying on backup water pumps since late July because the main pumps had been “damaged severely.”

Reeves declared a state of emergency for Jackson on Tuesday, pointing out that the problem is more severe than the boil water notice the state has been under since July, according to NBC News.


Hinds County Emergency Management Operations deputy director Tracy Funches, left, and operations coordinator Luke Chennault, wade through flood waters in northeast Jackson, Miss., Monday, Aug. 29, 2022, as they check water levels. Flooding affected a number neighborhoods that are near the Pearl River.

Rogelio V. Solis, Associated Press

“Until it is fixed,” Reeves said in a statement, “it means we do not have reliable running water at scale. It means the city cannot produce enough water to reliably flush toilets, fight fires, and meet other critical needs.”

What’s next? It’s unclear how long Jackson residents will be without water. The National Guard is distributing drinkable and nondrinkable water to residents, according to CNN, and the state is organizing tankers to provide water to fire trucks.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden has been briefed on the situation and the federal government is ready to assist if needed.

“FEMA is working closely with the state officials to identify needs, and the EPA is coordinating with industry partners to expedite delivery of critical treatment equipment for emergency repairs at the City of Jackson water treatment facilities,” Jean-Pierre said.