Seeking Water Solutions

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Water systems across Mississippi have problems that can't be fixed without a great deal of money.

According to the Enviromental Protection Agency, the state's water systems need almost a billion dollars to get their systems up to standard. Annually, the there's only about $34 million available for such improvements.

That is causing some in Neshoba County to look for solutions. Jeff Shepherd is the former president of Neshoba County's Central Water Association. His unorthodox solution is creating a private water-producing facility that would drill, treat, store and provide water at wholesale prices to the three water associations in Neshoba County, Philadelphia, Central Water, and the system operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Shepherd says it could work, not just for Neshoba County, but all over the state.

Shepherd and his partner are currently trying to sell the idea to the state department of health and the county's water systems. If the city, county, and tribal water associations agree, organizers want to work fast.

Shepherd says he'd like to have his wholesale water facility up and running by late 2003.