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Can Memphis repeat Jackson's water crisis?

As the city of Jackson, Mississippi suffers due to unusable water, many have wondered if something like it could happen in Memphis.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As Jackson, Mississippi works to restore usable water to its residents, many are wondering could something like what's happening there also occur in Memphis, a city that often struggles with its aging infrastructure. 

The Mayor of Jackson says the current crisis there stems from up to 30 years of deferred maintenance 

"Everybody deserves to have healthy and safe communities where they live, work, worship and recreate and learn,” Marquita Bradshaw, the executive director of environmental group Sowing Justice, said.  

According to MLGW, the city of Memphis does "have old infrastructure". 

The company says they are in the middle of upgrading this outdated infrastructure through its ‘MLGW Way Forward Program and Capital Improvement Plan.’ MLGW wouldn’t say if they foresee any immediate crisis, but climate activists say infrastructure updates are still very urgent.  

"From our water delivery systems, our sewage, and also our energy,” Bradshaw said. “It is the responsibility of MLGW and our elected leaders to have the foresight to make sure that we are not still using systems that are old."  

RELATED: Coal ash removal process begins through South Memphis

ABC24 asked MLGW for specific areas they may focus on but was not provided with any of that information.

MLGW's five-year plan to modernize our energy and water systems has allotted almost $90 million dollars for operations and maintenance expenses and has budgeted almost $200 million, over the next five years, for any capital improvements in the water division.  

The utility’s Water Division Rehabilitation Project has four phases. Each phase is said to deal with different aspects of the water treatment process in order to ensure water safety and security.   

"It is a true statement that they have a long way to go,” Bradshaw said. “That is a true statement. And we need to be able to do it more rapidly because human health is tied to how our infrastructure work and also our economy is tied to the infrastructure."

RELATED: MLGW President J.T. Young recommends utility continue to get power from TVA

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