Residents in Jackson, Mississippi are being urged to evacuate as the city battles a water emergency and imminent flood.
Over 150,000 residents do not currently have access to clean water after a water treatment pump in the city failed. Officials had been working to fix the long-neglected water treatment plant but it seems they were too late. Years of poor maintenance led to its breakdown and has left people without water for drinking and everyday activities like brushing their teeth or flushing toilets.
The issues at the treatment plant were also exacerbated by the nearby Pearl River flooding. Unfortunately, water crises are all too common in Jackson. In 2016, residents faced high lead levels in their water and in 2020 they battled floods. In February of this year, winter storms left people without running water and since July, people have been on a boil-only notice due to murky water that has been deemed unsafe.
Now, another flood is imminent and the Pearl River is expected to reach 36 feet.
“If you are capable of getting out now, get out now. Get out as soon as possible,” Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said at a news conference. Governor Tate Reeves also announced a state of emergency and called on the National Guard to step in. The EPA is now working to help expedite the emergency repairs needed at the water treatment facilities.