The Jackson Water Crisis is Not Over

Governor’s irresponsible claims could be cover for privatization

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Clean Water

Yesterday, Mississippi lifted the weeks-long boil order for Jackson, news that led Governor Tate Reeves to make this claim: “We can now announce that we have restored clean water to the city of Jackson.” 

But there is still a long way to go before that claim could be considered true.

Food & Water Watch Public Water for All Director Mary Grant issued the following statement:

“Contrary to the assurances from Governor Reeves, much more is necessary to address the harms of decades of racist policies and intentional disinvestment and ensure safe, clean water for Jackson residents. Federal, state and local collaboration is helping to improve water service in Jackson, but declarations that the water is ‘clean’ or ‘safe’ are hasty and irresponsible. The city has an ongoing lead-in-water crisis, and the system remains one climate change-fueled storm away from breaking down again. 

“Worse, this progress could be undone if the state forces Jackson to hand control of the system over to corporate interests. The city remains under threat of a state-imposed privatization. Privatization would exacerbate the city’s water affordability crisis, driving up the cost of necessary improvements to cover corporate taxes and profits. On average, private companies charge 59 percent more than local governments charge for water service. 

“Instead of abdicating responsibility for ensuring safe water to every Jackson resident, the Governor must reject water privatization and commit to correcting the state’s racist policies – which among other wrongs, have excluded Jackson from federal and state support for disadvantaged communities — and realize the promise that every Jackson resident has clean and safe water.”