We All Need To Be Talking About Jackson...
SOS: Jackson, Mississippi Has Run Out Of Safe Drinking Water
This week, about 180,000 residents in Jackson, Mississippi, and surrounding areas, no longer have clean drinking water.
Let me say that again. This state’s largest city and capital is without water.
Imagine not being able to fill up a glass of water from the faucet in your home—not for drinking, cooking, making coffee, taking a shower, cleaning, etc. etc.
“The city cannot produce enough water to fight fires, to flush toilets and to meet other critical needs,” said Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves in an announcement that activated the National Guard and declared a state of emergency.
The state health department has also issued a State of Emergency, warning that tap water is not safe to drink, brush teeth with, or give to pets.
The ongoing Jackson running water crisis stems from the failures at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant.
As reported in Time Magazine, the city’s primary water treatment facility has been relying on backup pumps, which have limited water pressure, since its main pumps failed last month. The Pearl River, which runs through the city, began flooding this past weekend and damaged the already vulnerable treatment plant—causing the Jackson resident to lose most of their water pressure altogether.
The total or near total loss of water pressure throughout the city and surrounding areas of Hinds County that receive water from the plant has created a condition of disaster and extreme peril to the safety of persons and property, according to the governor’s statement.
Yesterday, the city ran out of bottled water to give residents. What?!?
Sadly, this is a crisis we have seen coming and could have avoided. In February 2021, we wrote about Jackson:
Send In The National Guard
Residents in Jackson, Mississippi, have been without water for a week, as extreme winter weather hit the state along with Texas and Louisiana, putting stress on aging pipes and quickly depleting water reserves.
Not only was the city’s water treatment plant knocked offline, but the city's director of public works said they’ve sent crews to fix at least 20 water main breaks. The governor of Mississippi has dispatched the National Guard to help bring water to the city’s 160,000 residents.
This absolute crisis is due to many factors including recent floods (hello, climate change), staffing issues at the plant and decades-long infrastructure decay. The city has been issuing water boil notices since July, but Jackson has struggled with safe water access for decades.
And I’ll tell you right now, this kind of neglect is happening in more places than Jackson—throughout this country we have infrastructure failures, water main breaks, toxic chemical overload and so much more.
I know I sound like a broken record, but Superman’s Not Coming! We have to save ourselves.
It’s the people who rise up, speak up and get into action that will make a difference when it comes to these water issues. They always have been.
It’s the churches, it’s the community centers, it’s the activists and advocates, the nonprofits, the local business owners, the moms and dads, the students… who all pick up the pieces when there’s a water crisis.
Where Did The Money Go?
Mississippi was set to receive $429 million last year in federal infrastructure funds specifically for water lines and pipes…
This current crisis is a failure of government at ALL levels. City. State. Federal. It’s not about blaming one party or the other, it’s time for every elected official to be held accountable. Don’t they drink water too?
Hundreds of thousands do not have access to their most basic need: water.
We all think some agency is overseeing our health and well-being, but case after case has shown me that they are not. I’m outraged and at the same time, I’m not surprised.
Part of the problem with water is that we don’t see it. We have these incredible systems underneath our feet, but we don’t think to check on them until the water coming out of our tap is green or smells foul or is completely gone.
We all have to get into action. Imagine what would happen if you read one article a day about water issues or talked to one friend about your concerns.
Find out when your next city council meeting is happening and bring a neighbor with you. Any little action forward can get you going in the right direction.
The Disaster Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi was created to respond to disasters in Mississippi. It will not take the place of local relief efforts, but rather enhance disaster responses because of our community knowledge and connections, relief donations can easily adapt to current needs at hand, whether it’s food, medical supplies, shelter or something completely unforeseen. A donation to this fund will help wrap around needs related to Jackson’s water issues.
To address the current water crisis, Operation Shoestring is working to provide waterless hygiene supplies to all OS families.
To find out more information about how to support this effort, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or donate below. Operation Shoestring is welcoming any donation of body or face wipes, waterless toothbrushes, or any other waterless hygiene item.
Jackson Free Clinic is collecting water bottles and waterless hygiene supplies—including face wipes, body wipes and mini disposable toothbrushes—for patients affected by the Jackson water crisis. Drop off times are September 1, September 3, and September 10 at the UMMC School of Medicine, First Floor or contact email@example.com.
JFC will also distribute water and hygiene products from 12:30 – 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 3, for community members. Ride assistance is available. To request a ride, fill out a request on their website or call 601-355-5161.
Fondren Church is collecting and distributing water at the church (3327 Old Canton Road).
If donating water: Once you arrive to 3327 Old Canton Road, drive underneath the breezeway covering and head towards the back parking lot. Head straight back towards Pig & Pint and the Community Center will be on your left-hand side.
For volunteer opportunities, drop off and distribution schedules, click here.
Let’s talk about what’s going on in Jackson and your town…. Sound off in the comments below!