‘Great Day to Not Be in Jackson’ Amid Water Crisis

  • More than 150,000 people in Jackson — Mississippi’s largest city and capital — went without clean running water for weeks.
  • Speaking in Hattiesburg on Friday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said it was “a great day to not be in Jackson.”
  • Jackson lifted its boil-water notice, which had been in place since July, on Thursday.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves called it “a great day to not be in Jackson” on Friday, referring to the state’s capital, which has been deprived of clean running water for weeks.

Reeves made the remarks while attending a groundbreaking ceremony in Hattiesburg, roughly 90 miles southeast of Jackson, according to local reports. 

“It is a great day to be in Hattiesburg. It’s also, as always, a great day to not be in Jackson,” he said, according to local television station 16 WAPT News. “I feel like I should take off my emergency manager director hat and leave it in the car and take off my public works director hat and leave it in the car.”

Jackson is the state’s largest city, home to more than 150,000 residents, the majority of whom are Black. The city lost access to clean running water after severe flooding in late August damaged its main water treatment facility. 

The crisis has highlighted the devastation that happens and will continue to happen when issues like climate change, poor infrastructure, and systemic racism intersect.

Jackson had a boil-water notice in place since July, as residents turned on their taps to see brown water and waited in hourslong lines for bottled water. The city lifted the notice on Thursday.

“We’ve significantly increased the quantity of water produced,” Reeves said at a press conference announcing the update on Thursday, according to The Mississippi Free Press. “We’ve restored water pressure to the city. We’ve installed an emergency rental pump. We’ve fixed and reinstalled broken parts on site, and we’ve monitored and tested water quality.”

Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba later tweeted, “This is progress as we continue to work towards a consistent and reliable system.”