A city of Jackson Water Maintenance crew works to repair a broken waterline Match 6, 2021, on Pascagoula Street. Crews continue to repair the waterlines across the city in order to restore water to homes after severe winter storms crippled the city and state. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Leaders of Mississippi’s largest and capital city say they need at least $1 billion to replace Jackson’s failing water system, which left thousands of residents without water for weeks in March following a historic winter weather event.

The city’s leaders acknowledge they cannot afford the repairs themselves and have begged state and federal leaders for help.

READ MORE: Why Jackson’s water system is broken

Before the passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package in Congress last week, Democratic President Joe Biden promised to address aging and dangerous water systems across the country.

“Never again can we allow what happened in Flint, Michigan, and Jackson, Mississippi,” Biden said before the bill was passed by both the Senate and the House.

But the bill does not seem likely to save Jackson’s water system: It includes just $459 million for water improvements across Mississippi — less than half of what the city needs. And that money will likely be spent across the state and will be divvied up by state leaders, who for generations have divested from Jackson and continue to seem unwilling to offer much help.

This reality was highlighted this weekend in a Washington Post article about the situation.

“We have to make certain that (Jackson not getting its fair share of the federal infrastructure funding) does not happen,” Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba told the Post.

Mississippi Today has extensively covered the Jackson water crisis, explaining why a tense relationship between Jackson City Hall and the state Capitol is keeping Jacksonians fearful of the short and long term future of the water system.

FULL COVERAGE: Click here to read our ongoing reporting of the Jackson water crisis and how elected officials are addressing it.

READ MORE: As Jackson residents suffer during historic water crisis, state leaders keep their distance

READ MORE: Jackson wanted $47 million for water crisis. Lawmakers are providing $3 million.


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Adam Ganucheau, as Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the newsroom and works with the editorial team to fulfill our mission of producing high-quality journalism in the public interest. Adam has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. A native of Hazlehurst, Adam has worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and The Clarion-Ledger and his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Adam earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.