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IPFS News Link • Energy

Exposé Highlights Costly "Smart" Water Meter Deployment Disasters in Multiple Cities and S

•, By B.N. Frank

Problems continue to be reported including recently by The New York Times via Mississippi Today:

Big Companies Cashed In on Mississippi's Water. Small Towns Paid the Price.
They vowed to fix water woes and save cities millions. But a Times investigation found the deals racked up debt and left many worse off than before.

by Sarah Fowler, The New York Times February 5, 2024

Sarah Fowler is reporting on the water crisis in Jackson, Miss., in the state where she was born and raised, as part of The Times's Local Investigations Fellowship.

In winter 2021, more than 150,000 people living in Jackson, Miss., were left without running water.

Faucets were dry or dribbling a muddy brown. For weeks, people across the city lost the water they normally relied on to drink, cook and bathe. With no way to flush their toilets, some parents sent their children into the woods to relieve themselves. Businesses closed. Mississippi's capital effectively shut down.

The following year, at the height of Mississippi's sweltering summer in August 2022, it would all happen again.

Each time Jackson faced a water crisis, local and state leaders cast blame in familiar directions. Lawmakers criticized city officials for ignoring leaky pipes and failing to collect payments from customers. City officials pointed to Jackson's shrinking population and decades of economic decline. And they said state officials, mostly white and Republican, had starved the mostly Black, Democratic city of resources.

But the final blow was delivered by Siemens, a giant German corporation that had swept into town in 2010, boldly promising to install modern water meters that would boost revenues and return Jackson's water system to a moneymaking enterprise that could afford to fix its crumbling infrastructure.

Siemens, better known for building power plants and high-speed trains, failed to deliver on its promises. Jackson found itself with many meters that didn't work and wildly inaccurate water bills it couldn't collect.