RIO RANCHO (KRQE) - Albuquerque has a lot of water main breaks because it has a lot of old pipes. However, Rio Rancho, a much newer city, is also awash in a flood of water main breaks.
Thirty-six leaks have sprung up in the city in just 11 days, all because the infrastructure is falling apart in a city that's barely thirty years old.
Rio Rancho's Utilities Manager says they deal with 900 leaks a year in the city; most of them in the summer when people use more water. And almost all happen in neighborhoods built in the 1970's and 1980's when polybutylene was used to make pipes.
"We switched back to doing copper probably around 1998," said Utilities Division Manager Larry Webb.
But every neighborhood in the city, new and old, is forced to pitch in. Water rates have risen three percent this year, more than 11 percent over the past three years.
The money is used to fix the leaks.
"Well they do that, they said, so they can do these repairs. But they're just doing patch work," said Charlene Hart who lives in the neighborhood where leaks spring every week.
Each one of the squares in the middle of the road means the city's been there to replace the pipes. You can see them all over the neighborhood.
It costs the city almost $2,000 to fix a pipe and patch up the asphalt.
The city just doesn't have the money to replace them all, only patch work is cost-effective. Rio Rancho says to restructure the entire system, would cost more than $30 million.
Before the seventies and before Rio Rancho was officially a city, they used sturdy, copper pipes. The city has no had problems with those.
They started using plastic pipes in the seventies when copper prices sky-rocketed, but have since gone back.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this script said the pipes were made with polypropylene, they were in fact made with polybutylene.
Some brazen thieves made off with a man's prized possession, and now the victim is hoping for some holiday justice. Little did the suspects' know, their entire crime was caught on camera.
Authorities in Valencia County say a man broke into his girlfriend’s home and attacked her and her mother with a hatchet.
Albuquerque may have the biggest paint-by-number drawing in the New Mexico, and soon, a neighborhood will pitch in to finish it.
A vehicle used in war will soon hit the streets in Farmington.
New Mexico State Police say a missing hunter was found dead Sunday morning.
A wave of support was expressed Sunday from big group of Taos residents who protested the firing of state police officer Elias Montoya.