Since the beginning of this week in Jackson, the capital of Mississippi (United States), there is a severe water crisis that has left most of the 150,000 residents without water. The problem would be due to a failure of the treatment plant that serves the city, caused by theFlooding of the Pearl River which took place between the weekend and Monday. Furthermore, due to the breakdown, in areas where running water arrives or has been restored, there is a risk that it is unsafe from a sanitary point of view: local authorities have recommended drinking it only after boiling it for at least one minute. . According to Jim Craig, medical director of the Mississippi Department of Health, the water can be used for washing and bathing, but made a recommendation very specific to residents, demonstrating the danger of the situation:
Make sure you don’t have your mouth open in the shower.
There is still no running water in many areas, while in others it comes out of the taps with a strange, cloudy and brownish appearance. The water system in Mississippi has been in trouble for years, but recent floods have taken the situation to an extreme.
In summary, the damage to the treatment plant has had repercussions on the entire network because it is from what the water is sent to the city cisterns, which then distribute it to all the houses. However, the tanks distribute the water with the right pressure only when they are full, while the malfunction of the system has left them half empty and therefore unable to distribute water with sufficient pressure.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said equipment to measure the pH of the water – its acidity or basicity – is also having problems. If the water has a pH that is too low or too high, it is not drinkable, and this is also due to the recommendations of Craig and other authorities. In recent days, the municipality of Jackson and the state have set up some drinking water distribution centers, where long lines of residents have formed.
It is not clear when the situation will be resolved. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said service will be restored later this week, but specifies that as long as the pressure from the plant and cisterns returns to normal, residents will have to keep boiling water before drinking.