Rain in Albuquerque saves city water, money

Published online: Jul 27, 2015 Golf News

ALBUQUERQUE—For years, New Mexico has suffered the effects of drought. But, all the rain this year in the metro has brought major changes. Now the city and taxpayers are reaping the benefits.

Summer is in full swing at the city’s four golf courses. “This is the greenest I’ve seen it,” said Cole Valancius.

But aside from golfers, the City of Albuquerque is seeing a big difference.

“This year we’ve been very, very blessed with the amount of rainfall,” said David Salas, golf course superintendent for the City of Albuquerque.

What was dry, is now lush with life. Video from 2012 shows a dry, brown landscape. Now, the metro is showing green as far as the eye can see.

Ladera Golf Course was struggling two years ago. Tuesday, the course looked green and well-manicured after record breaking rain and an upgraded irrigation system.

“The greener the property, they seem to enjoy it more,” said Salas.

More rain in the city, means more savings. “At this point year-to-date, we’ve saved approximately a little over 50-and-a-half million gallons of water,” explained Salas.

That translates to about $70,000 taxpayers didn’t have to spend watering the city’s four golf courses to date.

The City Park Maintenance Division estimates they saved more than 88 million gallons to water parks, which is nearly $200,000 in savings so far this year.

“We try to be as water conscious as possible and certainly not irrigate if mother nature is taking care of it for us,” said Salas.

Salas said automatic sensors throughout the city turn off watering systems when rain levels reach more than three-tenths of an inch within an hour. Supervisors also monitor irrigation, and try to refrain from watering during high winds.

The city’s golf courses and parks have annual water budgets and pay costs to the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority.

Salas said the hope is that the monsoon season continues to bring the welcomed rain.

However, city officials said the water and money saved so far, just like the rain, can quickly be absorbed. Funds budgeted for watering city parks and golf courses will go toward needed improvements and higher water rates.

For now, people in Albuquerque are soaking in the summer benefits.

“I like it here anyway, but now I like it even more,” said Valancius.

“There’s no better quality of water than rain water,” said Salas. “There’s a lot of good natural nutrients that you know any other source cannot provide.”

So far this year, Albuquerque has receive more than seven inches of rain. That puts the city 3.18 inches above average.

Source: www.krqe.com