Jackson Water Plant Failure Causes Water Shortages

by Adel

MS declares State of Emergency due to Jackson Water Shortage

Jackson Mississippi is once again facing a water crisis, this time likely worse than any before it. The city’s main water plant is barely running, causing huge water shortages. The water that is being pumped to residents is also untreated, meaning that it is unsafe to drink.

Unfortunately, this failure in the water system is neither new nor unexpected. The Jackson water system has been struggling for years. The city has been under a water boil advisory since July. To learn more about Water boil advisories, click here.

The tipping point for this latest water shortage in the city seems to be recent flooding of nearby Pearl River. The flooding was caused by a storm and the flooding damaged the water treatment plant.

pearl river jackson water
Pearl River Flooding

The plant was already using backup pumps due to damage on the main pumps. Residents have noticed low water pressure for some time now.

The governor has declared a state of emergency in the city of Jackson and called in the National Guard. The EPA and FEMA are also present to help with the developing situation. The city currently has multiple water bottle distribution sites as it tries to give out thousands of bottles.

The city also announced that all public schools will transition to virtual learning for the time being. Make sure to follow the city through its website and social media for updates on water bottle sites and other vital updates. Here are the links to the different resources:

The Failure was Expected

The city’s mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has minced no words and blames this failure on a lack of help from the government. “I have said on multiple occasions that it’s not a matter of ‘if’ our system would fail, but a matter of ‘when’ our system would fail” the mayor stated regarding the Jackson Water system.

The governor stated that he was made aware of the condition of Jackson’s main water plant last Friday. Officials knew that the water plant was near failure “It was a near-certainty that Jackson would fail to produce running water sometime in the next several weeks or months if something did not materially improve”. 

Officials began devising plans to fix the situation. They hoped that there would be enough time to alleviate the problems before failure of the main plant, but the plant failed on Monday. Now the government is tasked with fixing the plant as well as providing water to the city’s residents. 

No timeline has been given for fixing the water plant. 

The main water plant, the OB Curtis water plant provides more than 70% of the city’s water supply. The plant normally pumps out 500 million gallons a day. That number is now effectively zero, since any water making its way to residents is untreated.

The EPA and Jackson Water Plants

The city of Jackson and the EPA have a history going back a few years. After an inspection in early 2020, the EPA issued an order to Jackson to fix their water system. After the city failed to fix the issues on its own, the EPA announced federal funding of $74.9 million to help fix the damaged water system. 

The mayor of Jackson however, thinks this is not enough, and argues the city needs funding in the billions to fix their deep rooted problems. Unfortunately, Jackson is not alone in its deep-rooted water system problems. Many cities across the US have similarly damaged water support infrastructure. 

This is also not the first time that Jackson lost water. In February 2021, the city lost access to water due to a severe storm that hit the city. The city has also had multiple boil water advisories throughout the past few years. 

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