Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) on Monday announced water pressure is solid and back to normal in Jackson, as the city continues to battle long-standing infrastructure issues, which intensified after flooding affected the city’s main water treatment facility.
The crisis left residents of Jackson unable to flush their toilets but also meant the city would have been unable to meet critical needs, including fighting fires.
“I am very happy to report that we have returned water pressure to the city,” Reeves said in a statement. “The tanks are full or filling. There are currently zero water tanks at low levels.”
The city’s public schools announced they would open for in-person learning Tuesday after water pressure was deemed “suitable” for students to return. Forest Hill High School students, though, will have to access alternate learning sites, as water pressure hasn’t been restored in that location.
The school district warned the air conditioning in some schools may also be affected and could take a while to reach low temperatures.
Additional challenges are likely to remain for Jackson.
“This system broke over several years, and it would be inaccurate to claim it is totally solved over a week,” Reeves said.
He continued: “There may be more bad days in the future.”
Residents are still advised to boil their drinking water, with officials saying the notice — which went into effect July 30 — will be lifted once they get two rounds of clear samples.
The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Sunday said “it’s still too early to tell” when the city will have access to safe drinking water.
“The focus right now is making sure we can get bottled water out,” Deanne Criswell told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“The longer term and the mid-term about how long it’s going to take to actually make it safe to drink ― I think that we have a lot more to learn about what it’s going to take to get that plant up and running,” Criswell continued.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba attributed the challenges to the city’s long-standing water infrastructure issues, warning there is a long road ahead to establish sustainable and reliable water systems.
“As I have always warned, even when the pressure’s restored, even when we are not under a boil water notice, it’s not a matter of if these systems will fail, but when these systems will fail,” Lumumba told ABC’s “This Week.” “There are so many points of failure. We’re talking about a set of accumulated challenges that have taken place over the better part of 30 years.”
Lumumba has previously said fixing the issue could cost billions of dollars. Mississippi is due to receive $75 million as part of the bipartisan infrastructure legislation President Joe Biden signed into law last year, according to The Associated Press.
The majority-Black city has a population of 150,000 and an additional 30,000 also rely on its water system.
This is not the first time the city’s water system has experienced failure. Just last year, a winter storm caused frozen and burst pipes at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant, which was effectively shut down, according to WWNO 89.9.