Heavy rains and flooding from the Pearl River have caused serious complications with one of two treatment plants that provides water for Jackson. The Pearl River floods are also impacting communities beyond Jackson, including the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, which issued a boil water advisory on Monday.
Local advocates say that the city’s water problems are rooted in a history of racism and neglect. After the civil rights movement led to the integration of schools and other public facilities in the 1960s, white people fled the city by the thousands and Jackson lost both tax revenue and institutional support. Today, the city is roughly 80 percent Black and suffers from old infrastructure that was designed to support a larger population.