Almost a month since a winter storm slammed through the gulf states, residents in Jackson, Mississippi, were still waiting for water service to be restored entirely.
The city restored water service to a majority of residents, including those who have well water connections. However, its 43,000 surface water connections remained under a boiled water advisory.
An update posted Thursday night explained the city needed to sample surface water before it could lift the advisory.
Public Works Director Charles Williams said some areas were still without water because of elevation and distance from the water treatment facilities, according to the Associated Press.
“Based off of what we’re seeing right now, checking fire hydrants, checking pressure, we do believe that the connections on the city service right now should have water,” Williams said during a Thursday briefing.
State officials previously said they were requesting a disaster declaration. But it is unclear why it has taken nearly a month to make the request.
The Clarion-Ledger reported President Joe Biden approved disaster help for Texas shortly after the storm. Louisiana had its declaration approved earlier this month.
As previously reported by NewsOne, restoring water service is only the first step. Decades of disrepair and disinvestment combined with severe winter weather collapsed the system. Last week, Williams and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba met with state legislators to request support in repairing the water system.
The clock is ticking for lawmakers to take action, as there are only a few weeks left in the current legislative session.
Lumumba requested $47 million to repair the aging system. He also asked legislative leaders to support the city of Jackson in introducing a one-cent sales tax to help fund repairs. The legislature must approve sales tax increases.
A 1% sales tax for infrastructure repairs was passed in 2014. Funds raised went primarily to road projects, according to Williams. But $20 million went to water and sewer repairs in 2018. The additional cent tax would cover system operation.
While officials work to get the final kinks out of the system, World Central Kitchen partnered with local restaurants to provide food to Jackson’s residents. WLBT reported restaurants provided more than a thousand meals per day. World Central Kitchen has also worked with Jackson’s small businesses since the start of the pandemic.
Several grassroots organizations around the city have been providing services from meals to financial assistance for residents as well. Find ways to support Jackson residents here.
Anoa Changa is a movement journalist and retired attorney based in Atlanta, Georgia. Follow Anoa on Instagram and Twitter @thewaywithanoa.
Decades Of Disrepair, Disinvestment Frustrate Efforts To Restore Water Service In Jackson
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