The residents of Jackson, Mississippi are facing a water crisis. They are living through the fourth day of not having water. Right now, brown water or nothing comes out of the faucets in the city.
While the ruling class “authorities” are scrambling to get a failing water treatment plant plagued with issues from decades of deferred maintenance back online, residents are trying to find bottled water anywhere they can. The city’s roughly 150,000 residents are in a dire situation. Schools are shuttered, businesses are forced to adapt or close and people have had to wait in long lines for bottled water they can use to cook or brush their teeth.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba told CNN Wednesday he is optimistic the water can be restored to residents this week. “But there is a huge mountain to climb in order to achieve that,” he added.
“We’re flushing bad water out of the system and making mechanical improvements to prevent an even more catastrophic failure,” Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said during a Wednesday news conference. On Wednesday, a rental pump was installed at the facility that authorities believe will help add an additional 4 million gallons of water a day into the system. The state also contracted with outside operators to begin work on critical emergency repairs.
“Our immediate priority is to have running water, even temporarily sacrificing some quality standards where we absolutely have to, to fulfill basic sanitary and safety needs,” Reeves said, urging residents not to drink the water without boiling it. “We are hopeful that we will be able to increase the quantity of the water which will ultimately get the tanks more full and ultimately lead to a scenario in which we can do the proper testing and actually produce clean water,” the governor said. “But we’re not there yet.”
Local businesses, still trying to recover from Covid-19-related setbacks, are also struggling to stay afloat. The most affected business sector is the city’s hospitality industry, said Jeff Rent, president and CEO at Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, reported CNN.
Water crises can become deadly. Water is essential to survival, and it won’t take the public long to riot in its absence.