Governor lacks confidence in city of Jackson regaining governance of water system

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 8:17 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - With water pressure and quality restored, the conversations are shifting to what happens in the long term with Jackson’s water system.

The Governor isn’t committing to any one plan but seems to think the city will likely lose its control.

”But to the residents of Jackson, I would simply say, I don’t think it’s very likely that the city is going to operate the water system in the city of Jackson anytime soon, if ever again,” said Governor Tate Reeves.

Governor Tate Reeves doubled down Thursday on his lack of confidence with the city once the state steps aside from this water emergency, mentioning scenarios of other potential next steps.

“The EPA could come in and attempt to take over the operations of the Jackson water system,” he noted.

We reached out to the city for a response and received this statement.

“We have no comment to the Governor’s statement… and we continue to work closely with the coalition of teams who are fighting for Jackson residents. The City remains committed to diligently working collaboratively with those who truly want Jackson to succeed.” Melissa Faith Payne, Jackson Director of Communications.

After speaking with two members of the Jackson delegation and others in recent weeks - it seems there’s still not a consensus about exactly what the next steps should be. But they don’t agree with leaving the city out of the equation altogether. In reference to the Governor’s comments...

“I understand those comments,“ said Rep. Shanda Yates.

“I think it was very premature, and a lot more conversation needs to take place,” noted Sen. Sollie Norwood.

Rep. Shanda Yates would instead like to see a commission or regional water authority formed including other surrounding cities.

“Am I saying that, that there should be no representation?” noted Yates. “No. But what I am saying is that I don’t think that the state should fix these problems. And then we just immediately go back to what we had before.”

Sen. Sollie Norwood isn’t ready to commit to any specific proposals yet.

“It took the system to collapse, for us to provide this,” said Norwood. “And now all of a sudden, you’re saying that you know, hey, I got this. No, it’s not that simple.”

“We hope to find a solution that everyone agrees to,” said Reeves Thursday. “But what we’re not going to do is we’re not going to put ourselves in a situation where we have to do this again, a month from now or a year from now.”

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