NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Historic rainfall and severe flooding in Jackson, Mississippi overwhelmed the city’s water system, leaving thousands of residents without safe drinking water. Jackson’s crisis raises questions in the minds of New Orleanians about the stability of our city’s water system.
“Of course, there’s always the concern that something so close can come our way, especially, you know, on our walk home from school we’re seeing water leaking out of streets,” said New Orleans resident Caitlin Massey.
Residents in Jackson are now dealing with boil advisories, but some New Orleanians say that’s something they deal with on a regular basis.
“I run a restaurant. At a restaurant, we have to shut down so much. Any given prep for the day takes twice as long because we have to boil all of the water before anything,” said New Orleans resident Andrew Woodruff
How does New Orleans prevent a water crisis like the one in Jackson? Assistant Director of Tulane’s Institute of Water Resources Law, Christopher Dalbom, says frequent maintenance is key.
“The idea that this could happen here is absolutely possible. We need investment in infrastructure, but not just new projects, not just shiny bobbles, we need consistent investment in operations and maintenance,” said Dalbom.
Dalbom also says funding for city infrastructure projects is critical and says it’s an issue both Jackson and New Orleans are facing.
“Part of the problem for Jackson has been their state government and their city government are at war with each other practically, and it’s not all that dissimilar to the funds that Attorney General Landry is withholding from New Orleans right now. It’s not that different,” said Dalbom.
We reached out the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board for comment on the issue and they provided us with this statement that says in part:
“Jackson should be a wake-up call for utilities and cities across the nation, which warrants even more attention and investment in our country’s infrastructure,”