Jackson, Mississippi is in a terrible situation as the city’s water treatment system has completely failed. The hodge-podge of backup pumps and “backups of backups” was overwhelmed by recent floodwaters.
Going from boil water notices to not enough water for all
Jackson has had water issues since late July, when water treatment officials called for a boil water notice due to “cloudy material” in the water supply. Now citizens are being told that there may not be enough water pressure to provide any water, including to fight fires.
Townspeople have been standing in lines for bottled water at distribution sites around the city. Local restaurants are having to have water trucked in from other towns at high prices. One particular owner, in an interview with the Associated Press, claimed to spend $300 per day on water and ice during the last month.
The cause of all this chaos is apparently the way the city has handled its water treatment system. A lack of trained workers and “decades of deferred maintenance” have led to this debacle.
Rough estimates from local lawmakers put the cost to fully rehabilitate the water treatment system range from $200 million to over $1 billion. Jackson will receive just $75 million as part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
A water convoy is scheduled to begin this week for Jackson
Lt. Col. Stephen McCraney of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has formed a large convoy of water tankers to help relieve the situation in the meantime. MEMA has acquired 108 water tankers for the city.
Seven relief supply sites around the city will be staged to disperse the water. As planned, 36 tankers per day are scheduled to arrive in the coming days.