It’s been weeks since the residents of Jackson, Mississippi — which is 82% Black — have had safe drinking water.
Following the deadly winter storm that took place last month, the city is now facing a water outage. According to USA Today, many people are receiving water from distribution sites to be able to drink and use at home to flush their toilets, take a shower and wash dishes — due to low water pressure in faucets. The city is also under a water boil notice, which was originally issued on Feb. 16. “Testing revealed the water contains high levels of turbidity, or cloudiness, which increases the chance it may contain disease-causing organisms,” reports the outlet.
Last Friday (March 5), Public Works Director Charles Williams said that there were improvements in the city’s water restoration and only “less than possibly 5,000 customers” were without water.
“I am encouraged that a lot of our residents ... had their water restored for the second day consistently, so we want to continue to tread forward with that,” he said. “Over the weekend if we stay consistent with the health department, we’ll need about 48 hours of consistency, then we’ll start sampling and start getting a lot of the areas off boil water notices.”
The city is now asking for help from the state. Last Wednesday (March 3), Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba sent an email to Gov. Tate Reeves requesting $47 million in emergency funding from the state and federal government to improve water infrastructure. The mayor said the pipes in Jackson are over 100 years old and water issues have become a regular occurrence.
On Monday (March 8), Williams said that the water boil notice would be lifted for some areas of the city later this week after the water tanks are refilled and tested.