Residents of Jackson, Mississippi, are in crisis mode as the city faces a major water shortage that could lead to the state’s capital going without dependable drinking water for the foreseeable future, according to Reuters. Local officials say pumps at Jackson’s main water treatment plant have failed.
“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,” Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said he was told last Friday.
The National Guard was activated in the area to help with the emergency distribution of bottled water for 180,000 people. At the same time, local crews are laboring to try and get the water treatment plant back online, according to CNN.
Water distribution has come with challenges. Local residents were forced to wait in long lines at Hawkins Field Airport for at least two hours yesterday only to receive a single case of bottled water. Officials later had to cut the line off and turn people away after handing out the last of the 700 cases supplied.
“I keep saying we’re going to be the next Michigan,” Jeraldine Watts, an 86-year-old resident, said, referring to the widely publicized Flint water crisis. “And it looks like that’s exactly what we’re headed for.”
At the moment, Jackson does not even have enough water for firefighters to extinguish blazes or for residents to flush their toilets. Jackson’s Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is now working to provide around 30 water trucks around the city to aid in the local efforts.
The water treatment facility’s problems stem from a variety of factors, including damage the plant sustained earlier this summer. Officials put the city under a boil water notice late last month due to concerns about the water quality. President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for the state yesterday, according to WLBT-TV.