City waiting to see how Flood Control Authority alert system works before trying it out

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Monsoon season is upon us, and that means arroyos fill up quickly and catch people by surprise. To keep everyone safe, voters approved an alert system, so years later — where is it?

“A few years ago we started working with the Albuquerque Fire Department looking at ways of identifying what’s happening in our facilities,” said Jerry Lovato with the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority (AMAFCA).

Voters approved a $300,000 bond in 2015 to pay for project, called the Arroyo Flash Flood Indication Indication System.

Eight stations have already been set up across Albuquerque, among them, the Piedras Marcadas Dam, Westgate Dam, the Hahan Arroyo and more.

“It’s basically a self-contained facility, it’s got its own power,” said Lovato.

The solar powered station has sensors at the base, detecting water levels. Once water is detected, a signal is sent to a box 20 feet about ground. That box then sends alerts to the Flood Control Authority through a cell phone.

“We will be having cameras installed in different locations that will either have live video, time delayed photography so you can come back and take a look at what’s going on,” said Lovato.

And with storms already hitting the area, he said it should be a huge help. Lovato said AMFCA has carried out its end of the deal, putting up the equipment, and now they’re waiting on AFD.

“One of the ideas was a siren or blinking lights, AMAFCA doesn’t really know how to do that, so we leave that to the professionals at AFD,” said Lovato.

Project documents show the city is behind schedule. They said the system should have already been alerting AFD by last year.

When KRQE News 13 asked the city what the hold up was, they said in part, “(They’re) working closely with AMAFCA to improve the notification systems,” but they still didn’t say when that would happen.

Monday afternoon, the city told KRQE News 13 they were not aware of any deadlines, but that they plan to meet with the Flood Control Authority to see how the alert system is working for them and how they can start using it.

The Flood Control Authority said the cameras should arrive in the next few months and the hope is that people can view them online to see what’s happening in their areas.

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