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March 4, 2021, 3:42 p.m. EST

‘I’m not sure how much more of this we can take’: Water crisis continues in Mississippi weeks after cold snap

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By Associated Press

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On Monday, the couple drove 25 miles (40 kilometers) to Mike’s mother’s house to do laundry.

Jackson’s water system has not been able to provide a sustainable flow of water throughout the city since the mid-February storms, city officials say.

The system “basically crashed like a computer and now we’re trying to rebuild it,” Williams said at a recent briefing.

The city’s water mains are more than a century old, and its infrastructure needs went unaddressed for decades, Democratic Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has said.

“We more than likely have more than a $2 billion issue with our infrastructure,” he said.

Jackson voters in 2014 approved a 1-cent local sales tax to pay for improvements to roads and water and sewer systems. On Tuesday, the city council voted to seek legislative approval for another election to double that local tax to 2 cents a dollar.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves would have to agree to letting Jackson have the tax election.

“I do think it’s really important that the city of Jackson start collecting their water bill payments before they start going and asking everyone else to pony up more money,” Reeves said Tuesday.

Jackson has had problems for years with its water billing system and with the quality of water.

Melanie Deaver Hanlin, who was without water for 14 days, has been flushing toilets with pool water and showering at friends’ homes. She said Jackson’s water system “needs to be fixed, not patched.”

“That’s the issue now — poor maintenance for far too long,” Hanlin said. “And Jackson residents are paying the price.”

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