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Mississippi governor declares water system failure as flooding overwhelms Jackson

Tracy Funches, Luke Chennault
Posted at 8:13 AM, Aug 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-30 13:35:08-04

As the Pearl River in Jackson, Mississippi, crests, the city is under a water shortage, resulting in little to no water pressure for area residents.

The water shortage is resulting in a lack of clean drinking water. Although officials are handing out bottles of water throughout the area, they are requesting those with means to purchase bottles from stores rather than using distribution sites.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency as he said there is not enough water in Jackson to meet residents’ basic needs, such as taking a bath or fighting fires.

“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.”

The city said it is not cutting off water access to residents but has issued a boil notice. Officials also urged residents not to use water for brushing teeth, washing dishes or to give to pets without boiling first.

“A far too small number of heroic front-line workers were trying their hardest to hold the system together, but that it was a near impossibility,” Reeves said.

The flooding in Jackson began late last week. Officials said they did what they could to prevent the system from failing. The water level on the Pearl River in Jackson reached 35.4 feet Monday, nearly 7 feet above the flood stage. The water is expected to slowly recede this week, falling below flood stage on Thursday.

The flooding came following back-to-back days of record rainfall in Jackson. The city had nearly 9 inches of rain in two days last week.