Sep 2, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Where things stand almost one week into the Jackson water crisis

embers of the Mississippi National Guard hand out bottled water at Thomas Cardozo Middle School in response to the water crisis on September 01, 2022
Members of the Mississippi National Guard hand out bottled water at Thomas Cardozo Middle School on Sept. 1. Photo: Brad Vest/Getty Images

Jackson, Mississippi, is nearing one week with little or no water after flooding in the Pearl River wreaked havoc on the capital city's already damaged water system.

Driving the news: Schools have been forced to shift remote, some businesses have closed their doors — or installed pricey fixes, such as portable toilets, — and residents are having to wait in long lines for potable water, ABC News reports.

  • Seven mass water distribution sites, overseen by 600 National Guard troops, opened across the state on Thursday. Additional sites are operated by fire stations, churches and nonprofits, per the Washington Post.
  • As of Thursday, water pressure from a failed water treatment plant was returning in some areas, per city officials.
  • "Over half of the tanks on the surface system have begun filling back up. Others will make gains as we progress," city officials said in a Thursday update.
  • "Areas closer to the plant are experiencing almost normal pressure. Areas further from the plant and at higher elevations are still experiencing low to no pressure."

Catch up quick: Jackson, a city of roughly 150,000, has been under a boil-water notice since July after tests showed water quality was "cloudy," triggering potential health concerns.

  • Flooding from the Pearl River caused the main water treatment plant — already damaged — to fail, resulting in faucets without water and, in some cases, brown water, CNN reports.
  • The governor announced a state of emergency on Tuesday and activated the National Guard to assist the city.
  • President Biden on Tuesday approved a federal emergency disaster declaration to assist with the outages.

Between the lines: Jackson would need around $200 million to fix the city's water system, according to Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

  • The entire state has a $75 million budget to improve its water systems, AP reports.

Context: Studies show global warming is intensifying extreme precipitation events globally and causing them to be more frequent, per Axios' climate reporter Andrew Freedman.

Go deeper... Mississippi flood prompts National Guard deployment, schools move online

Editor's note: This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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