Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba addresses the current state of the city's water system during a town hall meeting held at Forest Hill High School, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Jackson’s water pressure had begun to recover as of Wednesday morning, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said at a press conference later that day, adding that the “far reaches,” such as south and west Jackson, are still experiencing low levels from their taps.

Lumumba said the city’s “ambitious” goal is to have the boil water notice lifted by Saturday, which means restoring the pressure and then testing samples to assure the water is safe for consumption. He said that pressure at the plant is around 75 PSI, or pounds per square inch.

City workers, alongside Jackson’s contractor UCI, have identified 20 to 25 active leaks and are still looking for more breaches.

Lumumba added that there was a significant leak found on the well side of the system, and that the goal is to also have service restored for those customers by the end of the week.

Ted Henifin, the city’s new third-party water system manager, said he believed that much of the recovery on Tuesday came from residents turning off their faucets after letting them drip during freezing temperatures, Lumumba said.

“We need to continue to conserve water where we can to accelerate the recovery process,” the mayor said. “We’re still looking for the public to report leaks.”

Asked about the progress of infrastructure projects that began earlier in the year — a new 48-inch water line to improve pressure in south Jackson, and a cover structure to help weatherize the membrane side of the O.B. Curtis water treatment plant — Lumumba said both are nearing completion, but didn’t have a specific timeframe. He stressed that those projects alone won’t create a resilient and sustainable system.

“Essentially all components of the plant (such as its chemical room) need to be weatherized,” he said. “And then we need to find out how we better protect our pipes and distribution system.”

Other nearby cities also saw interruptions to their water service from the recent cold weather. Memphis, for instance, is also under a boil water notice because of water line breaks, and is telling residents to conserve water. The city’s utility said Monday it may be another four or five days before it lifts the advisory.

To report leaks in the system, Jackson residents should call 311 or 601-960-1111 during business hours, or 601-960-1875 after business hours.

Lumumba added that Commissioner of Agriculture & Commerce Andy Gipson had reached out and is making non-potable water — intended for uses like flushing, but not for consumption — available to Jacksonians at the state fairgrounds everyday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.

For drinking water, below are the city’s distribution sites posted for Friday:

West Jackson:

2 p.m.

Metro Center Mall near old Dillards Loading Dock

South Jackson:

5 p.m.

Candlestick Plaza off Cooper Rd, Jackson, MS

Northwest Jackson:

5 p.m.

Corner of Northside Drive and Manhattan Rd near Smillow Prep

Elderly or disabled residents who are unable to travel to a distribution site, should call 311 or 601-960-1875. Provided by Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition and City of Jackson.

For updates on future water distribution, residents can call 311 or 601-960-1875 for information.

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Alex Rozier, from New York City, is Mississippi Today’s data and environment reporter. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Open Secrets, and on NBC.com. In 2019, Alex was a grantee through the Pulitzer Center’s Connected Coastlines program, which supported his coverage around the impact of climate change on Mississippi fisheries.