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2014 Swim Passes Available

Ditch and Water Safety Task Force launched the 2014 Swim Pass kick-off event and unveiled the new "Ditch Critters"

May 30, 2014

Task Force’s ‘Swim and Play Pass’ Aimed at Keeping Kids Safe

Council President Ken Sanchez joined the Albuquerque Fire Department, Albuquerque Aquatics, Griffin Associates and children from the community to kick off the Ditch and Water Safety Task Forces 19th year of the “Swim and Play Pass” Program. They also unveiled their new campaign mascots and brand, the “Ditch Critters.”

In an effort to organize a public education campaign for the children of Albuquerque and the surrounding areas, the Task Force has been providing both educational presentations throughout the school year and swim passes in the summers to children to give them safe playing alternatives to keep them out of ditches and arroyos.

Free One-Day Admission

Flash flooding can occur quickly, causing serious injuries and death to children who play in ditches and arroyos, so for the last 18 years, The Ditch and Water Safety Task Force has organized the Swim and Play Pass Program, a lifesaving public education program which provides passes for children under 17. The passes are good for a free one-day admission at specific City of Albuquerque or Bernalillo County Pools.


The program kicks off with the opening of City and County pools and runs through September 1st.

Passes are available at:

  • Albuquerque Fire Stations,
  • Albuquerque Police Substations,
  • the Bernalillo County Fire Departments,
  • Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Departments, KOB-TV, and Mechanical Concepts, while supplies last.

Parents need to talk to their children and remind them to never go into the area arroyos and ditches. Even if it is sunny in town, if it has been raining in the mountains, the arroyos will fill with water. And the banks along the ditches can be dangerous areas to hang

What’s the Danger?

Although arroyos and ditches can appear harmless, it's important to remember that a flash flood, New Mexico's number one natural disaster, can occur at any moment. Drowning victims have ranged in age from two years to 87 years old.

Here's what you need to know about ditches and arroyos:

  • Ditches are mud-lined waterways that run north to south, parallel to the Rio Grande River.
  • Arroyos are cement or dirt-lined waterways that run east to west or west to east
  • Ditches are usually filled with water from March 1st to October 31st of every year.
  • The banks are slippery and the ditches are often filled with debris. It is never safe to be in a ditch.
  • The water in ditches can move up to 20 miles an hour! Some ditches have undertows. If you're caught in one of these your chances of getting out of are very slim.
  • 99 percent of the Arroyos are dry, so it is tempting to walk, jog, skateboard, or rollerblade in them.
  • When water fills in an arroyo it fills very quickly, known as flash flooding. Water can move as quickly as 40 mph in an arroyo.

The Ditch & Water Safety Task Force

The Ditch & Water Safety Task Force is an organization dedicated to eliminating ditch and arroyo injuries and deaths through education. Formed in 1983, members include: Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA); Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District; City of Albuquerque; Bernalillo County; and Sandoval County.

The task force's goal is to maintain zero drowning’s in the ditch and arroyo systems. This is accomplished by making over 100 safety presentations per year to elementary schools, middle schools and adult organizations and participation in special events throughout the year.

For more information on the Ditch and Water Safety Task Force visit, or call (505) 764-4444 ext. 241.