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Governor Reeves declares state of emergency over Jackson water crisis

Governor Tate Reeves

During a press conference on Monday night, Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency regarding Jackson’s water crisis that stemmed from a boil-water notice that has been in effect for over a month.

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has also prepared an emergency order as the city’s water pressure is insufficient to fight fires, flush toilets, and meet other basic needs.

The state has created an incident command center for the O.B. Curtis water treatment facility. The goal is to help with repairs and improvements at the water treatment plant. The incident command center will go into effect on Tuesday.

Reeves instructed Jackson residents to avoid drinking the city’s water.

“Please stay safe. Do not drink the water. In too many cases, it is raw water from the reservoir being pushed through the pipes,” Reeves said of Jackson’s tap water.

State Health Officer Dan Edney warns that the city’s water may not even be safe enough to use while brushing your teeth. He urged Jackson residents to boil their water for at least three minutes before using it.

According to Governor Reeves, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) will lead the charge in distributing drinking water to Jackson residents. The National Guard will also assist in water distribution.

“We’re going to bring in non-potable water as well. We’ll have a different distribution site for that,” MEMA Director Stephen McCraney said. “We don’t want to confuse drinking water with non-potable water where you can do the flushing of toilets and keep yourself safe as you can.”

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has also declared a water system emergency. The city will resume water distribution and will update the media on times and locations. According to Lumumba, the city is not cutting off water to its residents. Residents are advised to call the City’s 311 line for additional information. 

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