Water Association helps those who helped county

Published 11:48 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2009

NATCHEZ — When you’ve been helped so many times, there’s no good reason not to help.

That’s how Adams County Water Association Manager Ken Herring said he felt when the Mississippi Rural Water Association contacted him about providing assistance to areas in Arkansas that had been hit by a major ice storm.

“Arkansas came to Mississippi so much during Hurricane Katrina, and so we wanted to help them,” Herring said.

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The ice storm was the worst that the area had seen in 30 years, and it crippled the electrical grid, which, in turn shut off, the water supply.

Different water systems provide assistance to each other whenever there is a major catastrophe, whether in the same state or not.

In this case, the Adams County association did so by loaning a 180-kilowatt portable generator to a community in Clay County, Ark., Herring said.

The Mississippi Rural Water Association first contacted the Adams County association, a non-profit water association not affiliated with the county government, Friday morning.

“Adams County was one of the first ones I called, and Ken did not hesitate at all,” Mississippi Rural Water Association CEO Kirby Mayfield said. “I called him between 9 and 10 a.m., and by 2 p.m. he was up here (in Raymond) and ready to go.”

Armed with four other generators from around the state, Herring and Mayfield distributed them to communities in need.

“They were happy to see us,” Mayfield said. “They had used all of the generators available. Louisiana had brought generators, and they had used all of those.”

At approximately 2:30 Saturday morning, the generator from Adams County was hooked up and water service was restored to approximately 3,000 water connections.

“It is good for us to have systems like Adams County to call on and them respond like they did without hesitation,” Mayfield said.

But helping out just makes sense when everyone has the same goals, Herring said.

“All we’re really trying to do is work together,” he said.

The Adams County association still has three generators available, and Herring said that Arkansas power crews are working to restore the infrastructure near water plants first, so the generator should not have to be on loan for a long time.