Water Pressure Restored in Jackson, Miss., But Crisis Continues

Water Pressure Restored in Jackson, Miss., But Crisis Continues

After a prolonged crisis, the governor of Mississippi told the press this week that Jackson, MS, has had its water pressure restored.

After a prolonged crisis, the governor of Mississippi told the press this week that Jackson, MS, has had its water pressure restored

“Today, the tanks are full. Water pressure is solid,” Gov. Tate Reeves said, per CNN. 

“There may be more bad days in the future, we have, however, reached a place where people in Jackson can trust that water will come out of the faucet. People in Jackson can trust the toilets can be flushed.”

The city elaborated in a news release titled, “all of Jackson should now have pressure and most are now experiencing normal pressure.”

However, city residents still await confirmation that their drinking water is clean. 

“The O.B. Curtis Water Plant held steady overnight and into this morning. The total plant output is currently meeting our goal of 87 PSI. Higher water pressure at the plant results in improved water pressure for customers on the system. The outlook continues to be positive. However, the announcement said that additional challenges as repairs and adjustments are made leave potential for fluctuations in progress. “All tanks maintained storage levels overnight. We currently do not have any tanks at low levels.”

On Wednesday, two days after the water pressure was restored, the governor suggested privatization was an option for dealing with the water system in the future, Fox News reported. 

"Privatization is on the table," Reeves told reporters. "Having a commission that oversees failed water systems, as they have in many states, is on the table. So, again, I’m open to ideas.”

The governor also discussed when residents could expect clean water.

"After the bad water has been flushed through the system we should hopefully find that Jacksonians have access to clean water,” Reeves said at the top of the press conference. "Health officials tell me this morning that the plant is pumping out cleaner water than we’ve seen for a very long time. We will keep you updated on that.”

Jackson, however, is not yet out of the woods. 

“We know how to respond, and we can do so effectively,” Reeves said. “We have the personnel in place today to prevent as many issues as possible while understanding that a week of repairs does not eliminate every risk.”

The crisis began at the end of August when the majority of the 150,000 residents in Jackson were without running water. Flooding had strained the water treatment plant in the area, while the water towers that serve the city were left empty. There had been a similar water crisis in the same city in 2021. 

“Most Jacksonians lost running water altogether after back-to-back winter storms the week of Feb. 14 stunned unprepared utilities across the Deep South, and the Avalons were some of the roughly 43,000 people whose taps remained dry for more than two weeks. City officials were still telling most residents, 82% of whom are Black, to boil their water a month later,” a Mississippi Today explainer said.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters.