Hundreds of thousands of residents in Jackson, Mississippi are struggling to get access to water. Years of issues with the city’s water system, coupled with the devastating flood that engulfed the region in recent days, is contributing to the problem, CNN reports.

After the city’s main water treatment facility began failing on Monday, according to Gov. Tate Reeves, the National Guard was called to assist in distributing bottled water to residents. Some people who stood in line for hours were turned away when the 700 cases of water ran out.

“I keep saying we’re going to be the next Michigan,” Jeraldine Watts, an 86-year-old resident who was able to get water at a grocery store on Monday, told CNN. “And it looks like that’s exactly what we’re headed for.”

Jackson’s water issue, which has persisted for years, was exacerbated this summer when the city’s main water treatment facility sustained damage. Speaking to CNN, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said the flooding of the Pearl River last week added to the problem, affecting treatment processes and ultimately the amount of running water the system can provide.

Jackson has been under a boil water notice since July.

The city has remained under a boil water notice since late July after officials cited concerns about bacteria, viruses and parasites potentially contaminating the cloudy water, MSNBC reports. Additionally, the water crisis is making it difficult to fight fires or flush toilets.

“We will do everything in our power to restore water pressure and get water flowing back to the people of Jackson,” Reeves said, according to CNN.


The mayor’s office added that the water shortage is expected to last “the next couple of days.”

State Rep. Ronnie Crudup Jr. said his family used bottled water to brush their teeth on Tuesday because discolored water came out of his faucet, which he used to flush the toilet.

“It’s been building up for years, but we have had an unprecedented amount of rain in the last two to three weeks, and it just kind of created this havoc, what we are dealing with right now,” Crudup told CNN.

Residents say they're now unable to find bottled water.

Daryl Page is another resident struggling to get clean water. Page told CNN that he has been searching for clean, bottled water for the past month. The Jackson resident said he went to a distribution center, but there wasn’t any water there when he arrived.

Hospitals and schools have been left without air conditioning.

Officials said Jackson’s public schools will shift to virtual learning due to the crisis. The problem is also affecting hospitals such as Jackson’s University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“The Jackson Medical Mall air conditioning is not functioning properly, at this time, because the water pressure feeding its chillers is too low,” the center said in a statement. “A water tanker was to arrive late this morning to feed that system, and it should be operational by early afternoon.”

According to Mississippi Today, Jackson is home to more than 160,000 residents, making it the state’s largest city. Almost 83% of the city’s population are Black. Many of those residents experienced another water crisis during a winter storm in 2021.

“We were here two Februarys ago when we had system failures, and the world was watching us and the world is watching us again,” Lumumba said at a news conference Monday.

Biden declared a state of emergency.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Jackson, authorizing federal resources to be deployed to the city.

“The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in Hinds County,” read the press release.