Crews installed an emergency rental pump at the water plant in Mississippi on Wednesday in hopes of restoring more service to the parched residents of Jackson, who may still be days away from reliable water service, officials said.
Although Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba tried to strike an optimistic note when speaking to reporters, he listed locations and hours of bottled water distribution centers around the city — some opening this weekend, signaling the crisis will still be unfolding days from now.
The primary hope is to restore normal water pressure before health inspectors can test what’s coming out of the faucets.
“We’re eager for that to happen, and we’re eager for some sense of normalcy to return to our residents,” the mayor said.
It’s been two days since Lumumba declared a water system emergency stemming from flood-related complications at the O.B. Curtis Water Plant.
The complications have resulted in widespread shortages of drinkable water, low pressure or no service at all in some areas.
Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency Tuesday, saying the Jackson water crisis threatens “critical needs” and has no end in sight.
“We are installing our emergency rental pump at Jackson’s water plant,” Reeves tweeted Wednesday with a picture of the work.
“Thank you to the operators, delivery teams, and experts on the ground who are making these repairs to restore water for the people of Jackson. More to be done, but the work is happening at an incredible pace!”
Despite the pump installation, state officials still told Jackson residents to expect spotty service.
“You are going to experience a fluctuation in water pressure while work is being done on the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant,” the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said in a statement issued just before noon Wednesday. “This could mean no water at times.”