ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Malfunctioning sprinklers at a complex of Albuquerque little league fields have created a virtual oasis in the middle of a water-starved desert.
Visit the baseball and softball field at the Alameda Little League on Alameda Park Drive NE and you will find a swamp land of sorts. Just outside of the ballfield fences lush green plants sprout in soaked ground as water stands almost ankle deep in some areas.
It's all from the water running off the ballfields.
"It's pretty excessive," said Adrian Conger who has witnessed the overwatering.
During the day the fields are saturated with hundreds of thousands of gallons of precious New Mexico water. One day last week, KRQE News 13 witnessed the sprinklers at the complex running for more than an hour and a half on just one of the five fields.
And the watering ran past 11 a.m., the time when the city-county water utility starts fining users for being wasteful. People who work nearby say it happens almost daily.
"I don't know if they city's doing anything on fining them," Conger said. "I know that if I had water going down my gutter I'd be fined."
There is standing water on the fields, it collects on the warning track in the outfield and runs outside the fence creating the wetland. It then overflows into the street where it pools up and finally dumps into the storm drain.
The city of Albuquerque built the fields and turned them over to the Alameda Little League. The league's president, Matt Pullen admits the watering is excessive.
"I didn't realize it was this bad," he told KRQE News 13. "Our problem that we're trying to figure out is trying to manage our sprinkler system."
Pullen said his all-volunteer group has been battling unpredictable sprinklers every since city contractors built this new junior field and tied the 40 sprinklers into the existing system about a month ago.
"We feel like we get it figured out," Pullen continued. "It seems to work for a couple days, and then it doesn't."
According to the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, the Alameda Little League used 1.5 million gallons of water in May. Compare that to the similar-sized Paradise Hills Little League, which used 578,000 gallons of water in May, a little more than a third of what Alameda used.
After hearing of the excessive water use, the city's Parks and Recreation Division stepped in this week to help the little league. Crews found a main water line problem that's being fixed.
The league hopes that along with tweaking the sprinkler system fixed the problem.
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