JACKSON, Miss. (NBC) — In Mississippi, the state has a water problem. The city’s water system, already fragile, can’t produce safe water following recent flooding.

Jackson, Mississippi’s largest city, needs water. Clean water.

“As we speak we drafting a state of emergency declaration with regard to Jackson’s failure to produce running water,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said.”It means the city cannot produce enough water to fight fires to reliably flush toilets and meet other critical needs.”

Recent flood waters are receding but decimated the city’s treatment facility. State and local officials are now scrambling for drinking water.

“We need to provide it for up to 180,000 people for an unknown period of time,” Reeves said.

This outage is part of a long-standing problem with the city’s infrastructure.

“This is a set of accumulated problems based on deferred maintenance that has not taken place, over decades,” Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said.

In 2020, an Environmental Protection Agency’s report cited a long list of problems with the water system including:

  • Failure to replace lead pipes
  • Faulty monitoring equipment
  • Inadequate staffing

“I feel sorry for the residents here because they know that um this has been happening for years and nothing’s being done about it,” said Michael Lanthier, a concerned resident.

Now the most basic of needs are in short supply.