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Water Restored to all Jackson Residents One Week After System Failure

By Adam Ganucheau

Mississippi Today

The O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant remains active in Ridgeland, Mississippi on September 1, 2022. (Rory Doyle/Deep Indigo Collective for Mississippi Today)

Exactly one week since tens of thousands lost running water in Mississippi’s capital city, officials on Monday announced they believe every Jackson resident has water once again.

“We have returned water pressure to the city,” Gov. Tate Reeves said in a press conference on Monday. “The tanks are full or filling. There are currently zero water tanks at low levels.”

City officials echoed that update in a citywide notice on Monday: “All of Jackson should now have pressure and most are now experiencing normal pressure.”

A state-issued boil water notice remains in effect, however, meaning that the water, while flowing, should still not be consumed.

“Health officials tell me that the pump is pumping cleaner water than we’ve seen in a long, long time,” Reeves said, adding that there is still much testing to come before it can be deemed safe to drink.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Rep. Bennie Thompson opens up about Jackson water crisis

One week ago, state officials took over operations at the city’s largest water distribution plant, which had failed after years of neglect and the Pearl River flooded in late August. When the plant failed, Jackson’s 160,000-plus residents experienced little or no water pressure, spurring a federal emergency declaration and major relief efforts.

While Monday’s news of normal system operation may bring some relief to Jacksonians, officials continue to warn that additional water system problems could occur at any time. Many of the aged water main lines in the city cannot withstand high pressure, and some pipes that are integral to the system are more than 100 years old.

Reeves said officials from the state will remain in place “for some time.”

“We know there could be more challenges … There may be more bad days in the future,” Reeves said. “This system broke over several years, and it would be inaccurate to claim it was solved in less than a week.”

Reeves continued: “We have, however, reached a place that people in Jackson can trust water will come out of the faucet, toilets will be flushed, and fires will be fought.”

As officials continue to work toward keeping the water system on line, state leaders are discussing long-term options to ensure the system will be repaired or replaced. Those deliberations almost certainly would require state legislative action.

Reeves on Monday said he did not anticipate calling a special legislative session in the foreseeable future, but he said he was willing to hear and consider plans.

READ MORE: These long-term ideas are being discussed by state leaders to address for Jackson water crisis

The images in this story are from Deep Indigo Collective, a visual storytelling resource supporting news outlets reporting on the local impacts of environmental threats and the climate crisis. As a 501(c)(3) organization, Deep Indigo is proud to produce original visual journalism on behalf of our editorial partners across the United States.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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