Acequia cleaning 2017. Part I.

About a week ago I received notice from our Acequia Commission that we will be starting our acequia cleaning this Friday, March 17.  This is the earliest we gather to clean the acequias in my memory, likely due to our interest in being ready to irrigate when the comes, which seems to be earlier every year.

Today we cleaned our acequia ditch system starting at the top where our diversion structure is in the river.  You can see in the picture above that we have a large headgate or presa to bring the water in our system.  The clear area you see to the left was a job our Mayordomo put me and a couple other guys on…  We had to clear this area of willows and other vegetation.  If there is a flood from a large rain event, we might get our diversion structure clogged with debris that would come down the river channel.  Having this area clear allows these materials to flow around and past the diversion structure and keeps the river channel more open.

After cleaning the diversion structure area, we proceeded down the acequia channel itself.  The Mayordomo (seen with the brush cutter) moved ahead and cut the vegetation on the bordos (banks) of the acequias and we workers (peones) in turn cleared the area and moved the brush away from the ditch bank.  Our Mayordomo and Commissioners need to be able to walk on the bordos and check the status of the water and fix any problem areas.  This cleaning is to maintain our easement which is ten feet from the center of the acequia to the ditch bank on each side for a total of twenty feet.

It was a great day to reconnect with members of my community and nature.  After our next full day of cleaning, the acequia will be ready to bring water to our fields…

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
This entry was posted in Acequia Culture and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Acequia cleaning 2017. Part I.

  1. Great story and pics, Miguel. I produced a radio piece for KSFR, public radio in Santa Fe, and for Latino USA (slightly different version) about our NM acequias, and thought you might want to listen to one or both. Here are the links:http://ksfr.org/post/april-12-new-mexico-communities-respond-governors-veto-money-acequias

    http://latinousa.org/2016/08/26/age-old-tradition-ditch-digging/

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