Lack of running water for many days is a nightmare that people in Jackson city, Mississippi (USA) are experiencing. They have no water to drink, cook, bathe or even flush the toilet.
This summer is probably the most terrifying for the people in this city. The pumps at the water treatment facility were broken. Massive flooding last week also affected water treatment processes. Now there is not enough water to serve about 180,000 people in the city.
Lack of hundreds of sides
The incident occurred on August 29 when flood water flooded the OB Curtis water treatment plant. Both the state governor and Jackson Chokwe mayor Antar Lumumba said that the floodwaters entered the treatment plant, changing the chemistry of the water, forcing everything to shut down. The plant is located next to a reservoir that flows into the Pearl River just north of the city.
Residents told CNN that they had to collect rainwater to flush the toilet and even use it to brush their teeth. Some households had water earlier this week but the water changed color, not safe to drink.
Floodwaters have affected the lives of many people in the US.
Most families have to use bottled water to brush their teeth. Some households with very small children had to use yellow-brown water to bathe their children. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency earlier this week. He said there was not enough water for fire trucks and hospitals.
On August 30, a long line of cars waited patiently for bottled water to be used at one of the main distribution locations. Some residents said that they had to wait more than two and a half hours for their turn but received a notice that the water had run out.
Ms. Jeraldine Watts, 86 years old, is also one of the residents waiting in line to get drinking water. Mrs. Watt was born and raised in Jackson, currently living with her daughter and granddaughter. She told CNN that, for days now, they have to use bottled water to brush their teeth, cook and wash dishes.
Long lines of cars waiting in line to get bottled water.
Some schools are having to organize online learning because there is no water. Many businesses have been forced to close since August 30 due to water shortages. Some restaurants have had to use their own water carts to deliver food to a portion of Jackson residents.
The head coach of the football team at Jackson State University said their training program was in “crisis”. The coach shared the difficult situation: “We don’t have water to use, I have to take the players outside, into a hotel so they can shower and do other necessities.“.
This man is trying to find a place that provides what is needed for the team to continue training, without compromising on performance.
Bottled water is “sold out” in Jackson.
The problem has existed for a long time and has not been fixed
Like many other cities, Jackson faced water system problems that couldn’t be fixed on its own. Tax contributions from residents have declined over the past few decades as the population has declined. The mayor of Lumumba said it would take $2 billion to repair and completely replace the aging system.
A cold spell in 2021 left a significant number of people without running water after the pipes froze. That same problem happened again earlier this year, on a smaller scale. Mayor Lumumba said Jackson’s water supply system has been plagued with constant problems due to a lack of staff and decades of delayed maintenance.
Everyone is trying to do everything to help the city.
People in the city have been told to boil water taken from the machine for the past 1 month because the Ministry of Health discovered that the water was cloudy, causing digestive problems.
Derek Emerson – owner of a restaurant in the city – shared that water problems are preventing them from continuing their business. He and his wife said they spent 300 USD (7 million VND)/day to buy ice and bottled water in August.
“I love working at Jackson and love the people here. I just don’t like having water problems all the time“, said Mr. Emerson.
The governor said he was informed that, “It is almost certain that the city of Jackson will not be able to produce potable water for the next several weeks or months if the city’s water treatment facilities are not improved.“.
What to do to fix the situation?
Rosa Barron, a church worker in the city, is raising money to buy water in the hope that it can help many people in need. Last year, several churches in Mississippi got together to raise money to buy water to help the people of Jackson when the city’s pipeline burst because of the cold weather.
“People in the apartments at that time did not have water. They cannot cook. They cannot shower. They are like now, there is no water to live“, said Mrs. Rosa Barron.
Governor Tate Reeves dispatched the state’s National Guard to help with water relief for the city. The state mobilized 10 large water trucks on August 30 and is expected to have 108 more trucks in the coming days.
Under a short-term plan, the local government said it would invest funds in the rehabilitation, maintenance and emergency repair of the water plant. The mayor of Lumumba agreed to the plan and said the city would be responsible for half of the cost.
On September 3, CNN reported, Governor Tate Reeves said that employees at seven state-run distribution centers have distributed nearly 2.8 million bottles of water to residents for temporary use during the period. the last 24 hours.
The city also said that a temporary leased pump was installed on August 31 at the plant while workers were performing a series of equipment repairs and adjustments.
Since September 1, some households have had water back to normal. In more remote places and in higher elevations, there is still no water due to low pressure. On September 1, authorities said half of the water tanks had begun to fill again. However, people are still advised to boil water if they want to drink it instead of using it directly as before.
Although water has returned to some places, Mayor Jackson Chokwe Antar Lumumba said there has been a concern here that the possibility of water pipe breakage is very high. In many places the pipe is in an old condition, it can burst when encountering strong water pressure. The local government here still needs a long time to completely overcome this situation.