As the people of Jackson, Mississippi, know well, the city’s drinking water system has suffered from serious safety and reliability problems for decades. Residents have endured discolored water, low pressure, oily water, and water with floating particles. Jackson’s water has previously had elevated lead levels, and its treatment plants have struggled to properly and consistently filter and disinfect the water. Hundreds of times, the risks from harmful microbes have forced officials to tell consumers to boil their water before drinking it. Two complete water shutoffs, in 2021 and 2022, left residents without drinkable water for weeks.

Water woes in Jackson, a majority-Black city, are part of a national infrastructure crisis rooted in and made worse by structural racism. Local governments, including the government of Jackson, must rely on state politicians for funding to fix urgent problems with aging water pipes and treatment plants. But Mississippi has engaged in a pattern of disinvestment and withholding of funds from the city.

This fact sheet outlines a timeline of Jackson's water crisis, along with crucial harm reduction resources and information regarding community-driven solutions.