Costs to Fix Jackson's Water System Estimated at $1 Billion

Planning and funding are both in dire need in Jackson, Mississippi. The question is who should be in charge of all the planning and funding.

2 minute read

September 28, 2022, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

The Pearl River floods with brown near downtown Jackson, Mississippi.

Chad Robertson Media / Shutterstock

All eyes are still on Jackson, Mississippi, where an August emergency left an estimated 180,000 residents without drinking water.

Since then, local, state, and federal officials have been jockeying to place blame and position themselves favorably for the future. Annie Snider first reported, for example, that Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Jackson) is seeking $200 million in funding for the city that would be allocated through the Environmental Protection Agency, thus bypassing the state of Mississippi entirely.  

In the same article, Snider reports that state and local officials estimate the cost of repairing the city’s water system could be as much as $1 billion. “The city has not completed a long-term plan for addressing its problems. Thompson said $200 million is ‘what appears to be reasonable’ now, in the absence of a plan,” writes Snider.

Writing for the Mississippi Free Press in a separate article, Nick Judin details the back and forth between state and local officials as they push for funding to fix Jackson’s emergency for the long term. Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba, for example, “has often complained of the Mississippi Legislature’s ‘paternalistic’ authority over infrastructure funds, both those derived from the federal government and from Jackson’s own citizens,” writes Judin.

Also according to Judin, Rep. Thompson is pushing for a planning process to identify the problems that caused the failure and “[extricate] itself from the depths of infrastructure collapse.”

Friday, September 23, 2022 in Mississippi Free Press

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