“For years, the people of Jackson, Mississippi, have suffered the consequences of aging water infrastructure,” Biden wrote in a statement. “Last summer, the city’s water system reached a crisis point when a major flood aggravated longstanding problems in the system and left tens of thousands of people without any running water for days on end. Long before then, families in Jackson lived under the constant threat of boil water orders.”
The initial $115 million investment was doled out through a sweeping omnibus spending bill that pledged a total of $600 million to fix Jackson's water system. In August 2022, roughly 150,000 residents were left without clean drinking water after Jackson's already aging water system broke down due to torrential rains.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan described the funding as a “significant shot in the arm."
“We are announcing our first round of $115 million,” Regan told CNN on Tuesday (June 6). “It will go towards continuing to stabilize this system, it will go to plugging some of the leaks in the distribution system, shoring up that integrity, ensuring that the pressure continues to stay at a certain rate.”
Regan said the funding will be distributed to "priority areas" to ensure that "we get everyone safe, affordable drinking water and continue to give them safe affordable drinking water as we restore the entire integrity of the system.”
“This process takes years, but people should not question the quality of their drinking water,” he added.