A city of Jackson water maintenance crew repairs a broken waterline March 6, 2021, on Pascagoula Street. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Tens of thousands of residents in south and northwest Jackson woke up without running water Christmas morning after several days of sub-freezing temperatures burst water lines and strained the capital city’s main water plant.

Leaders announced late Christmas morning that crews were searching for multiple water line breaks but had not yet identified them all. The water pressure could be remain low or zero, they said, until more breaks were identified and repaired. They gave no timeline for this work.

Officials on Sunday also implemented a citywide boil water notice.

“We understand the timing is terrible,” the city said in a press release on Christmas morning. “Please hate that we hate to issue the notice during the Christmas holiday.”

FULL COVERAGE: Jackson water crisis

Management of the aged, crumbling Jackson water system was taken over by the federal government in late November after the system collapsed in late August. The current Jackson water woes come after decades of deferred maintenance, gutted funding from the federal and state levels, and an exodus of taxpaying residents and businesses in the city.

The current crisis is most directly attributed to problems at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Facility, which provides running water to a majority of the city’s residents. Late Saturday night, crews slowed production at the plant in order to identify many of the leaks that are causing the loss in system pressure.

The city’s residents, forced for generations to struggle through water outages and boil water notices, got good news last week. Congress, in their stopgap budget measure, appropriated $600 million to the city for water system repairs. Those needed repairs, overseen at least in the short-term by the federal government, could take years.

READ MORE: Why Jackson’s water system is broken

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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.