Mississippi Governor Tells Jackson Residents 'Do Not Drink the Water' in State of Emergency Declaration

"Do not drink the water," Gov. Tate Reeves told citizens of the capital. "In too many cases, it is raw water from the reservoir being pushed through the pipes."

Jackson Mississippi skyline for news story

Image via Getty/Mark Felix/AFP

Jackson Mississippi skyline for news story

Jackson, Mississippi is experiencing a dangerous water shortage. Declaring a state of emergency on Monday, Gov. Tate Reeves said the state’s capital and largest city will not have dependable running water or pressure for an undetermined period.

“Until it is fixed, it means we do not have reliable running water at scale,” said Reeves, a Republican, per Mississippi Today. “It means the city cannot produce enough water to fight fires, to reliably flush toilets, and to meet other critical needs.”

Heavy rains and Pearl River flooding worsened problems in one of the city’s treatment plants, and the local news outlet points out the water system for the city of over 160,000 residents “has been plagued with problems for years, including tens of thousands of residents losing water between one and three weeks during a 2021 winter storm.”

Jackson has been under a boil-water notice since late July, when “tests found a cloudy quality to the water that could lead to health problems,” the Associated Press writes.

“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 Monday night, per the Mississippi Free Press. “Be smart, protect yourself, protect your family, preserve water, look out for your fellow man and look out for your neighbors.”

As seen in the video above, the governor informed constituents that the state needs “to provide water for up to 180,000 people for an unknown period of time” and that the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency will begin distributing water on Tuesday morning with the help of the National Guard and an “incident command center.” Jackson Public Schools are pivoting to virtual learning until students and staff “can safely return.”

As Reeves was delivering his comments, the city’s official Twitter account shared some details as well.

“The water shortage is likely to last the next couple of days," one tweet read. "Contrary to some reports, the City is NOT cutting off water to residents.”

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