New well could aid Jackson residents in case of another water crisis.
In February, the City of Jackson lost water service due to the ice storm and residents of Jackson were without water for almost a month. The Mississippi Department of Agriculture is working to find solutions to assist residents if a similar situation arises in the future.
Testing for a well at the fairgrounds began last week. Hopes are that it will be able to provide water to those who live in Jackson should the water system fail again as it did in February. Assuming all goes as planned, construction of a well could be completed around the end of this year.
The water system’s failure took place during the time of the Dixie National Rodeo. Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson canceled many of the Dixie National Rodeo events due to no access to water.
“The water loss in Jackson during the February freeze impacting the rodeo illustrated the necessity of the State Fairgrounds having backup water sources for both human and animal health. The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce is currently drilling a test well to determine our options,” said Gipson’s Chief of Staff Brian Perry. “Ideally, we will be able to provide potable water for facilities, guests, and animals throughout the Fairgrounds. The water cost savings could pay for project within a decade. There may be opportunities for the Fairgrounds to provide water to other parts of the Capitol Complex as well.”
Perry said the Fairgrounds has long served Mississippi during times of emergency, from being a mobilization station in World War II to a fallout shelter during the Cold War to housing evacuees after Hurricane Katrina. It has served as a Red Cross emergency area and a staging ground for utility and recovery vehicles during every major weather event.
Having access to its own potable water will be another way for MDAC to aid Mississippians in times of emergencies.
Perry mentioned that the department discussed the possibility of being able to provide drive-up water relief for citizens during a city water disaster.
A crew began digging a test well last Wednesday. Perry said that the results of the test well will give them a better picture of which plan to execute moving forward.