New headgates for Acequia Sur

20140311-093416.jpgToday I was happy to inspect some work done on our headgates from another project completed with the help of Taos Soil and Water Conservation District and contractor Monty McCarty.  I am thankful to our past Commission for getting the ball rolling on this some years ago and now the current Commission has the honor of seeing it completed.  The past Commission was able to get these headgates functional some years ago with the help of a local welder, but the techniques and materials involved were reflective of our budget.  They worked, but were kind of a hassle and even dangerous to the integrity of your fingers if you weren’t careful or wearing gloves, especially at 6 in the morning…

But now we have these really nice headgates.  What you don’t see is the nice wheels that go on top.  We used to just use a wrench which was slow and lacked security.  Monty McCarty got the bid for this construction and drove a massive welding truck up to the gates and retrofit our past gates with reinforced metal and more functional hardware.  Our Mayordomo is especially happy.  This will make his job of delivering water more efficient.

Now we just need some more moisture so we can have some irrigation water!  Our acequia and river has gone pretty much dry by the end of June for the past two years.  The year before that, our acequia almost went dry but then we got substantial rains and the flow started up again to finish the growing season.  And before that we saw a couple of years of the acequia drying out in June interspaced by years where the acequia did flow the entire growing season.  If predictions of drought and climate change are correct for this region, and as confirmed by our experience, we are likely to see more dry years with our acequia drying up mid-season than seasons of consistent irrigation water…

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
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