JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Progress is slow but being made for restoring running water service across the state especially to the City of Jackson. But in the midst of it are state and city leaders working together enough? Both the Mayor and Governor laid out their approaches and response to distributing water and fixing main breaks.
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba made it clear help from the state level is needed for getting water to reach desperate homeowners and businesses. Governor Tate Reeves responded they’re doing everything necessary.
In his latest update on restoring water to Jackson, Mayor Lumumba acknowledged water distribution sites are the most convenient for everyone and more help is needed.
“We are still receiving a very high volume of calls over 311,” Mayor Lumumba told reporters. “Which makes it difficult to get to each call. We know that areas are without water.”
While staying at the Governor’s Mansion in the middle of all the disasters unfolding last week, Governor Tate Reeves admitted Mayor Lumumba was the first to reach out to him but his team is doing everything necessary to help.
“We put the City of Jackson in contact with Hinds County,” Gov. Reeves explained. “And what we found is Hinds County has 11 Volunteer Fire Departments able and capable of providing fire service to the City of Jackson.”
After arguing his team helped give out bottled water Governor Reeves went on to explain the Mississippi Emergency Management Department being guided to the mayor’s office to assist in getting more water tank trucks to make distribution more convenient.
“I’ve got nine tankers that are a week away from even being certified from coming to the state,” Director Stephen McCraney said. “We’re actually cleaning dirty tankers to make them non-potable tankers. In other locations, the three vendors I called none are available.”
MEMA added the city can go off and fund their own project like the city council voted for Monday, but once any resources go scarce, they come in to find it. Four more 18-wheeler trucks of bottled water are expected to go out in the coming days.
Governor Reeves added 52 other counties have declared a state of emergency following the winter storms that need the same attention. He also echoed infrastructure in Jackson faced problems with water well before this ice storm came.
Late Tuesday night, the governor tweeted, “We secured tankers tonight to provide non-potable water for Jackson to jumpstart the system and accelerate the fix. I have also activated the National Guard to complete the mission, and they will arrive early tomorrow. We will restore clean water for the people of Jackson!”