Jackson mayor says federal funding ‘insufficient’ to address city’s water infrastructure

By | September 11, 2022

Jackson, Mississippi Mayor Chokwe Lumumba says federal funding allocated to the city as part of the American Rescue Plan is “insufficient” to address the city’s water infrastructure.

Lumumba appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday. 

He added that a “coordinated effort” is needed to end the water crisis. 

“When can your residents turn on the faucet and not have to worry?” show host Margaret Brennan asked. 


“All residents have had water pressure restored to them, they have yet to have the boil water notice lifted and so there are still concerns around the consumption of that water,” Lumumba responded, according to an online interview transcript. “Right now, as many repairs and adjustments are taking place. In the triage period of where we are at the water treatment facility. There’s also investigatory sampling taking place. And so we believe that it’s a matter of days, not weeks before that boil water notice can be lifted.”

Jackson’s main water-treatment plant malfunctioned in late August after torrential rain caused flooding along the Pearl River. The influx altered the quality of the raw water entering the plant from a reservoir. That slowed the treatment process, depleted supplies in water tanks and caused a dangerous drop in pressure.

But even before the rainfall, officials said some water pumps had failed, and a treatment plant was using backup pumps. A rental pump was installed last week, and the system’s water pressure is back to normal.


“In March 2021, federal government sent $42 million directly to the city as part of the American Rescue Plan,” Brennan said. “Where’s the money?”

“We have committed the grand majority of our ARPA funds towards our infrastructure, not only at the water treatment facility, but – but distribution lines. We’ve spent $8 million on one pipe alone to South Jackson, which is disproportionately affected.” Lumumba answered.

He added it is critical for people to know the city didn’t get $42 million at one time, and got a “second tranche” of the funds merely a little over a month ago.

“However, it is insufficient to meet the great need of 30 years of deferred maintenance and accumulated challenges. And so it will take a coordinated effort on not only the local state, but federal levels as well,” he said. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.