Mississippi residents left without clean running water after winter storms

Jackson, Mississippi, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba discusses the city’s response to the thousands of residents without water for nearly two weeks and what needs to be done to prevent future outages.
7:01 | 03/02/21

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Transcript for Mississippi residents left without clean running water after winter storms
Joining me now is Jackson Mississippi mayor show quello moon box. And mayor little luck. As you heard there are some residents in your town that are still without clean water is water pressure remains low in those areas each and your city remains under a boil water advisory stokes where things stand in terms of fixing the remaining problems she. And what do you say residents asking for a timeline on when you expect clean water boil water for everyone again. Thank you for having me juju and in thank you for the opportunity to speak to you and you're listening audience. As the package on display that circumstance is critical. And we understand the frustration of our residents. The city of Jackson's water treatment facility. I'm the infrastructure of our city much like most southern city. Us severe weather are severely cold weather. As we experience which reduce the PSI. The pressure that we are able to it in the system. It is that pressure when we have a water. A water facility Ned operates off of hydraulics. That is necessary in order to distribute water throughout our system. And so it's not so much that we don't understand what need to be done. As it was we were ill equipped to handle the conditions which came away and so we are pushing lowered increasing the pressure. Increasing the distribution of water. It is refilling tanks that were to lead it based on consumption. Refilling the lines in and wishing it to the furthest point. And so I understand. What residents are dealing. I understand the payment Iranian. And I think that it is justified that they be bothered and upset. This is due to years of lack of investment. Not only from a municipal and local side but from the state and the federal government. We have to understand that we live and legacy sitting with aging and ailing infrastructure. That are confronting. More severe weather conditions colder winters hotter Summers. And more rain which are all taking the total with structure. A Mary you've said that these problems fall under the act of god category referring to the weather and your city's public works director said the system basically. Quell crashed like a computer but many of your residents have expressed frustration with the slow pace of getting that system back on normal as you've addressed she. Hindsight is when he when he of course but is there anything more that leaders like you're -- could have done to keep this water emergency from lasting two weeks. Yet if we had about you know hundred million dollars or so tube to invest in the upgrades are necessary. For the system that didn't yes we would have been a lot better position. But in terms of wind we. When we encounter a storm in based on the system and we have prepared as as best we could it. I think that is why you're seeing such as simulate narrative. Across so many city. Because all of these cities are not prepared did not have the resource as are not resource well enough. To address us such severe weather. And so it's not a matter of knowing what to do as it is being ill equipped to deal with what comes your way in especially when we. Sustained weather conditions for a long period of time as we did when you look at northern cities and in often bear their water treatment silly things. There whether rise they're usually in indoor facility. That is not system that we had built meaning many years ago. Now we've actually taken action to allocate money in and are set for construction and were sick or construction. Prior to this storm. I in order to in closed a portion of large portion of water treatment facility. But the storm didn't consult us before that was set to soon. Even that being the same and we look forward to those renovations. We still are not in a position. You know all in and one fail swoop to address. The centuries in and in decades old infrastructure challenges that we have and and being ill equipped to deal with. So we are whether such as we've experienced in recent years. We know the billion dollar price tag is very steep for infrastructure change but here's how one resident discussed on that. Woeful lack of infrastructure upgrades listen. Somewhere somebody's got to take control this and start working on infrastructure is that it is blaming only got yesterday. That. That's what we higher taxes for. What would you say to residents like her clearly her frustration is. Is diffuse and but what think it will take to raise the political will to get that kind. Funding for infrastructure reform. What I would do is first and shore are the city of Jackson invest millions. Each and every year into not only our infrastructure. But sewage infrastructure all the things are residents depend. We we get approximately 300 million dollars annually as our total. Our total budget when we look at this problem of this size we have to have a state of Mississippi that understands the city of Jackson faces. A critical needs such as that it is not just that Jackson issued we are the economic engine of the state of Mississippi. So they have to lock arms with us and support us in this in this effort and we see the federal government. And so many cities that are facing simulate stories as the city of Jackson and we have to stand at our budgets are moral documents that reflect what our values are we must value safe drinking water or residents. In an infrastructure that supports the quality of life so justly does our. And it's not Justin Jackson issue you you touched on the federal partnership what needs to happen on the federal level to address the show that this storm has exposed. Well we've been visiting this discussion quite some time there has been the ease of federal infrastructure package. To address our aging infrastructure across the nation. And I think that we have to push that along we can no longer wait. You know not only the age of our infrastructure is is becoming increasing concern in June in pushing back to the forefront. But as I mentioned at the start of our conversation. The more extreme weather conditions that we are facing throughout the nation are demanding. We do something now. And so you know we are constantly making our legal to state and federal partners. To ensure that the city of Jackson has. Other support that it needs we have been. You know allocated water through the BO Warner. Word a act. That no new starts ban in congress. Prohibited city of Jackson from receiving more than 25 million dollars that eight in some of the repairs that we need. But we need even more than men in and I think there you know I would hope that Washington hears our cry. We are the grassroots level we are where the rubber meet the road and we see the efficacy of the policies that they implement and a lack era. Mayor thank you for your time and your efforts our thanks to you marry lumumba. A tax Mississippi.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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