JACKSON, Miss. – As anticipated, JXN Water had significant pipe breaks during the day yesterday because of the thawing, frozen ground causing the ground to expand and putting pressure on buried pipes. The extended deep freeze and record low temperatures were a challenge, according to JXN Water leadership.
“By late yesterday afternoon the water demand had risen to 70 million gallons per day, 40 percent more than a typical day. The high demand appears to have been a combination of pipe breaks in the Jackson Water system and leaks from private plumbing systems throughout the service area,” said Ted Henifin, JXN Water Interim Third Party Manager.
JXN Water began seeing isolated pressure issues last night. The issues became more widespread overnight as the result of what JXN Water believes was a deliberate misinformation campaign on social media that claimed JXN Water was going to shut the water plants off at some point late last night and encouraged people to prepare by filling bathtubs and jugs. People acted on that social media post by filling their tubs. This caused demand to spike up beyond a level JXN Water could support given the significant demand during the day yesterday.
The water treatment plants operated continuously through the night (as they do every night) yet have not been able to recover the water lost yesterday. As a result, many customers are waking up to low pressure and/or no water. JXN Water is working to define which areas of the city should be placed under a precautionary boil water notice. Those notices will be issued for any area where the system pressure went below 20 psi. At this point, customers with very low water pressure or no water, should assume they need to boil their water before drinking it until further notice.
“JXN Water is working hard to restore service to everyone, but it may take up to a day or two to get the system back to pre-storm conditions. We need everyone to help by minimizing water use for the next 24 hours (for those that have water and those that get it back in the coming hours) until we can get water to everyone,” said Henifin.
Since the call center is aware of this issue, customers should also take caution to not overwhelm customer service with frequent calling about no water or low pressure. Leak reports are still being taken.