Flooding leaves Mississippi’s capital, Jackson, without drinking water | International

Although it sounds paradoxical, one of the first things that tend to be scarce in floods is water. Drinking water, of course. This is what has happened in Jackson, the capital and largest city of Mississippi, with some 164,000 inhabitants. The floods caused by the heavy rains have damaged the main water treatment plant that supplies the city, leaving a system that was already suffering from serious deficiencies in an emergency situation.

“The complete or near complete loss of water pressure throughout the City of Jackson and surrounding areas of Hinds County that receive water from the plant has created a disaster situation and extreme danger to the safety of people and property. estate”, stated in a statement Mississippi Governor, Republican Tate Reeves, who has declared a state of emergency.

“The state is mobilizing tremendous resources to protect the people of our capital,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “It will take time for this to bear fruit. But we are here in times of crisis, for anyone in the state in need. That is my responsibility as governor, and it is what everyone in my administration is committed to ensuring.”

According to the state of emergency decree, the flood-damaged OB Curtis plant provides drinking water to some 43,000 water points on which some 160,000 people in and around Jackson depend. Torrential rains have caused the Pearl River, which runs through the city, to overflow its banks and have raised the level of the Ross R. Barnett reservoir to a point that has rendered much of the supply inoperative.

The plant’s two main intake pumps have been removed for repair, and the two secondary pumps produce two to four million gallons (7.5 to 15 million liters) less water per day than the primary pumps, which has led to an almost total loss of water pressure.

That has created a situation of “extreme disaster and danger to the safety of persons and property of a magnitude that would be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of the City of Jackson and County of Jackson.” Hinds,” according to the decree.

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The overflow of the Pearl River has flooded areas near its channel in Jackson, Mississippi.
The overflow of the Pearl River has flooded areas near its channel in Jackson, Mississippi.Roger V. Solis (AP)

At a press conference, the governor said: “Until that is fixed, it means we don’t have reliable tap water at scale. It means the city cannot produce enough water to fight fires, to reliably flush toilets, and to meet other critical needs.”

Mississippi is taking steps to ensure fire safety and marshalling resources to provide sanitation and distribute potable and non-potable water to Jackson residents. “Replacing the piped water infrastructure of our largest city with human distribution is a massively complicated logistical task. We have to provide it to up to 180,000 people for an unknown period of time. We have the best management and expert workforce possible, but it still won’t be easy,” Reeves added at the press conference.

The governor has appealed to the population: “If you have the personal resources to provide for yourself or your neighbors, we are asking Mississippians to please do so. Leave these resources for those who absolutely need them.”

The residents of Jackson, a poor and insecure city with a majority black population, suffer from chronic problems with public services, including water supply and sanitation, but the floods have complicated it to the extreme: “This is a situation very different from my boil water advisory, which is also a serious situation, to which the residents of Jackson have become tragically desensitized”, said the governor. “We are in a constant state of emergency,” said the mayor of the city, the Democrat Chokwe Antar Lumumba, at another press conference.

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