The ditches in Albuquerque are known for being dangerous, but on a hot summer day, they can be inviting, especially to young children. Problems arise when summer rains come and kids don't get out of the fast moving ditch waters soon enough. So the agencies that make up the Ditch & Water Safety Task Force are offering free swim passes to city and county pools, while supplies last.
Free swim passes for the summer season become available after the Memorial Day holiday. They are available on a first come, first served basis, while supplies last.
Each pass is good for one free daily admission during regular recreation hours at any Albuquerque or Bernalillo County pool . The pass is for children 17 years of age or younger. Children 10 and under must be accompanied by an adult. The passes are valid through the summer. Find city pool locations and county pool locations near you (swim passes are not good for Rio Rancho pools).
Swim passes can be obtained at the following locations (while supplies last):
The Danger of Ditches
Those new to New Mexico are sometimes surprised that drowning is possible in something that looks as innocent as a ditch. The many city arroyos and ditches run north to south, parallel to the Rio Grande and appear to be harmless when they're dry. However, when a flash flood occurs, they fill quickly and deeply. Running water gathers momentum, especially as it runs downhill, and can easily sweep someone off their feet and pull them down into the water.
The concrete ditches found in the city help to move water that has built up during a flash rain or heavy rains. Albuquerque is built beneath a mountain, and the city has a steep grade that runs from the foothills of the Sandias to the valley below by the Rio Grande. The arroyo system was created to funnel water that comes in the way of rainfall or snow runoff from the mountains. The water that comes down during a rain can move as quickly as 40 miles per hour. That makes it nearly impossible for anyone to jump into an arroyo and expect to get out.
The ones that run east to west carry water from the mountains and foothills, and can quickly pull you under. Though it's tempting to take a shortcut across one or use it to skateboard, they are places that can turn from empty to full within a matter of seconds. Being in one when a rain occurs is akin to being on a train track and turning around to see a rapid train coming toward you.
Don't take a chance by dipping your toes into one. Enjoy the summer by using a free pool pass to go to one of the many pools around town, or get a monthly or season pool pass.