Gov. Reeves and Mayor Lumumba, for first time, stand together as capital city faces crisis

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 1:01 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - For the first time since the beginning of the capital city’s water crisis, Governor Tate Reeves and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba stood together for a joint press conference on Thursday.

The joint-presser comes after questions were asked as to whether the two leaders were holding “dueling press conferences,” a question the mayor shot down Wednesday, saying, “That’s not how I would characterize it. What we’re trying to do is present ourselves early and often.”

Nonetheless, the two were present at the same location, the State Fairgrounds, along with other officials, including those with MEMA and the Mississippi National Guard.

Lumumba said his presence at the briefing demonstrates the “unity that is taking place” between state and local officials.

In an update, the mayor said that administrators at the O.B. Curtis Water Plant, the city’s main water treatment location, have reported that, as of Thursday morning, things were going well and that positive gains had been made.

This as news came earlier Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had joined the local, state, and federal response team at the plant - a result of President Joe Biden’s approval of the state’s emergency declaration.

Wednesday, the plant suffered a “setback” involving water chemistry, resulting in the depletion of the surface water tanks. Pressure had decreased to 40 PSI. The ideal PSI is at least 87.

In the latest report, the City of Jackson said the plant’s water pressure has increased to 78 PSI.

At the press conference, news was made as Reeves announced the launch of seven state-run water distribution sites throughout the city. The sites will be located at the State Fairgrounds, the Metrocenter Mall, Smith-Will Stadium, Thomas Cordozo Middle School, Northwest Jackson Middle School, Hinds Community College-Jackson, and Davis Rode Park.

At these “mega-sites,” there will be botted water, bulk not-drinkable water, and hand sanitizer. These sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day until further notice.

The new locations will be in addition to the water distribution sites already located throughout the city. Reeves called this “an extraordinary logistical effort.”

The Mississippi National Guard is also bringing in airmen and soldiers from across the state to aid in the effort. This includes 600 men and women helping to distribute water.

“In Mississippi, when crisis strikes, we realize that really we are one Mississippi. We are bound together by our common faith, our common belief, to love our neighbor as ourself...” stated Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson, who was also in attendance at the briefing.

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