In the News

Preventing the Next Jackson-Like Water Crisis

Marquisha Johns and Nicole Rapfogel explain why the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, was the result of long-standing disinvestment, environmental injustice, and health inequities—and they urge state lawmakers to direct funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act toward the communities that need them most.

For two weeks, Jackson, Mississippi’s 150,000 residents have gone without access to safe water after heavy rainfall and flooding caused a major water plant to fail. Eighty-two percent of the city’s population is Black and nearly 25% lives in poverty. For the first of the two weeks, residents could not flush toilets, schools shifted to virtual learning, businesses shouldered additional costs to meet health requirements, and a major medical facility’s air-conditioning system was compromised. Residents have had to wait for hours outside local distribution sites to get bottled water to drink, cook, and brush their teeth, and some have been turned away after supplies were quickly depleted.

While water pressure has been restored and the boil water notice lifted, one resident reported lacking proper running water for a year and a half. This crisis—and many similar ones—is the perfect storm of environmental injustice, climate change, health inequities and long-standing disinvestment in critical infrastructure. It’s now up to state and local lawmakers to address the crisis and ensure it never happens again in Jackson or elsewhere.

The above excerpt was originally published in Route Fifty . Click here to view the full article.

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Authors

Marquisha Johns

Associate Director, Public Health

Nicole Rapfogel

Research Associate

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