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Jackson, Mississippi Declares State of Emergency Amid Drinking Water Crisis

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves is set to declare a state of emergency, as Jackson residents have little to no running water in the city.

Jackson, Mississippi is currently undergoing a water crisis. Home to roughly 180,000 mostly Black residents, the city’s water system has is failing, as state officials announced on Monday (August 29). Since Sunday, those in Jackson have been warned to leave the city amid a flood warning and record-setting rain, resulting in Mississippi’s Pearl River to crest. With thousands of locals having little to no water pressure in their households, Gov. Tate Reeves has announced that he will declare a state of emergency.

“The O.B. Curtis plant is not operating anywhere near full capacity,” Reeves said during a press conference Monday night. “We may find out tomorrow it’s not operating at all. We’ll have better visibility on that when we get in there tomorrow.”

With the emergency declaration for the O.B. Curtis plant – which funnels 50 million gallons for the city daily – Reeves seeks to create an “incident command center” and distribute water to residents beginning Tuesday (August 30). “Until it is fixed, it means we do not have reliable running water at scale,” Reeves said. “It means the city cannot produce enough water to fight fires, to reliably flush toilets, and to meet other critical needs.”

During his public service announcement, Reeves warned Jackson residents to refrain from drinking or using water. If residents are to use water, they have been asked to boil water for at least three minutes.

“Please stay safe. Do not drink the water. In too many cases, it is raw water from the reservoir being pushed through the pipes,” Reeves said. “Be smart, protect yourself, protect your family.”

Jackson has faced a faulty water system for years. Last February, a brutal winter storm shut down Jackson’s water system, leaving residents without water for a month. As a result of Jackson’s water crisis, Jackson public schools have shifted to virtual learning. The state is also expected to notify the national guard to aid distributing drinking and non-drinking water while crews assist in rebooting Jackson’s water treatment plant.

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