‘Our system basically crashed like a computer:’ Jackson Public Works Dir. said progress made in restoring water to residents

Updated: Feb. 28, 2021 at 2:35 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The City of Jackson provided an update on the ongoing water crisis that began following a lengthy winter storm.

Public Works Director Dr. Charles Williams and Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba gave an update Sunday discussing efforts to restore water to residents who’ve been without it for nearly two weeks.

The mayor and public works director say the city is making progress when it comes to fully restoring everyone’s water.

However, right now some residents in South and West Jackson are still without water, and at this time Lumumba said he can’t give an exact date on when it’ll be restored.

“Time is really the solution to much of this,” the mayor said. “While we can’t give you a precise day and hour in which that water will come on, what we’re confident in is that they are working the system as it should be, they are resolving the issues.”

The city says the water system is slowly making progress.

Williams says the pressure has reached 90 psi (pounds per square inch) and they are working to stabilize the pressure.

“Water has been restored to certain areas, what we’re trying to narrow down is, where are those areas that are still possibly without water,” said Williams. “Right now what we know is there are some pockets in West Jackson, and there are some areas in South Jackson.”

The public works director says they’re now trying to get enough water pressure to fill the more than a dozen storage tanks throughout the city.

This will then allow water to migrate down to the homes in South and West Jackson that currently have no water.

“We just left Forest Hill Road, so those residents are without,” said Williams. “We also left the area of Brookleigh and they’re without water currently right now. We know that we need to continue to push pressure through the system and flow water down consistently in order to continue to build the restoration efforts for getting our residents water, so that’s just part of the entire recovery.”

The entire city has been under a Boil Water Alert for more than two weeks and those with water have been asked to conserve.

“Our system basically crashed like a computer and we’re trying to rebuild it,” said Williams.

The city is making efforts to deliver water to those in need. Sites have been set up across the city for residents to pick up free water.

Governor Tate Reeves has activated the National Guard to help speed up the recovery efforts for the city’s water system.

As this crisis continues, it sheds another light on the city’s aging infrastructure.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said recently that it would literally cost more than a billion dollars to replace the entire water system.

He has been vocal about criticism to the city’s response to the crisis saying that what caused the outages and warnings was not incompetence but “an act of God.”

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