Jackson, MS without water

August 30, 2022
Mason jars being filled with sink water

“Do not drink this water.”

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves issuing a State of Emergency in Jackson, the state’s capital and largest city.

Why It Matters: The failure of a water plant means Mississippi's most prominent and populated city does not have reliable water and "cannot produce enough water to fight fires, to reliably flush toilets, and to meet other critical needs.” The state needs to deliver clean water to up to 180,000 people for an "unknown period of time," Gov. Reeves said on Monday evening.

  • Why: Jackson has faced ongoing water problems in recent years. However, the issue has worsened since the city's largest water treatment plan began seeing increased issues and "is not operating anywhere near full capacity."
  • Timing: Parts of Jackson experienced flooding in recent days, further contributing to water pressure issues. However, state officials noted the city's water system was "barreling toward a breaking point even before the floods," The New York Times explains.
  • Gov. Reeves said to Jackson residents: "Do not drink the water. In too many cases, it is raw water from the reservoir being pushed through the pipes."
  • The Plan: “The state has created an incident command structure, is surging our resources to the city’s water treatment facility and beginning emergency maintenance, repairs, and improvements,” Gov. Reeves said. No long-term plans to combat the ongoing water problems have been addressed.

Big Picture: A 2019 study by the US Water Alliance found that more than 2 million Americans lack "basic access to safe drinking water and sanitation." Furthermore, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 8% of Americans (almost 30 million people) who have access to community water systems live in areas where the systems do not meet all health-based standards.

Jackson water system is failing, city will be with no or little drinking water indefinitely (Mississippi Today)

‘Do Not Drink The Water’: Jackson Water System Failing For 180,000 People (Mississippi Free Press)

Gov. Reeve's Emergency Briefing (Facebook)

Here's where to get water in Jackson (Mississippi Today)

by Jenna Lee,