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*On this date in 2022, a public water health crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, began. This occurred after the Pearl River flooded due to severe storms in the state.
The flooding caused the O. B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant, the city's largest water treatment facility already running on backup pumps due to failures the month prior, to stop drinking water treatment indefinitely. The crisis triggered a political debate regarding racial discrimination, infrastructure neglect, and shifting local demographics.
The water crisis triggered a political debate regarding racial discrimination, infrastructure neglect, and shifting local demographics. Approximately 150,000 city residents were left without access to safe drinking water. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves issued a state of emergency, and President Joe Biden declared a federal disaster to trigger federal aid. Reeves withdrew the state of emergency on November 22. Some commentators have charged the failing water system as an example of environmental racism, with the state failing to support infrastructure in its capital city.
Critics point to Jackson's presence as a Democratic-leaning city with an overwhelming black majority population in a Republican state with a white majority state legislature. Shifting demographics in the late-20th and early-21st century, including white flight, reduced the city population, decreased the number of white residents as a proportion of the population, and increased the city's poverty rate.
Wealthier suburbs have newer infrastructure, but Jackson is left with a smaller tax base to support its aging system. Governor Reeves, a Republican, started holding press conferences when the August 2022 crisis began without inviting Lumumba, the city's Democratic mayor.