Water Crisis in Jackson, Miss. Points to Urgent Need to Pass WATER Act in Congress

WASHINGTON – Local reporting indicates a dire situation in Jackson, Mississippi, where thousands have gone more than two weeks without running water due to infrastructure failures in the wake of freezing temperatures across the South. This situation is reflective of a crisis state for water infrastructure nationwide. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the country’s water infrastructure a D+ rating.

In response to the deepening crisis, last week Senator Bernie Sanders and Reps. Brenda Lawrence and Ro Khanna introduced the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability (WATER) Act, which would guarantee $35 billion annually for refurbishing and replacing infrastructure, addressing rampant water contamination, and providing relief for households with unaffordable water bills.

The legislation already has 77 Congressional co-sponsors and is supported by more than 500 organizations across the country.

Statement from Food & Water Watch Policy Director Mitch Jones: 

“The dire situation in Jackson is the product of years of austerity and neglect from the federal government, and it demands swift action. Access to water is a basic human right. It is shameful that thousands of Jackson residents have gone weeks without water due to crumbling 100-year old pipes. The situation in Jackson is not the first water crisis and won’t be the last; much of our nation’s water infrastructure is old and decaying, and it lacks climate resiliency. The federal government must provide direct relief. But more than that, it’s time for Congress to pass the WATER Act, and include significant funding for our public water systems in any forthcoming infrastructure package. This funding would help Jackson and thousands of other communities across the country. We must ensure that all people in this country have reliable access to clean, affordable water – no exceptions.”

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