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The main title of this paper mimics a groundbreaking investigation by anthropologist Teresa Rojas Rabiela and ethnohistorian Ignacio Gutiérrez Ruvalcaba titled: Las presas efímeras mexicanas, del pasado y del presente (Ephemeral diversion dams of Mexico, past and present). Their study inspired the addition of counterpart cases from Nuevo México, a former Mexican province directly north of the Juarez-El Paso border. The work here describes the traditional dams of the northern Río Grande region and also serves as a guide to future research and the development of historic preservation projects. After introducing readers to Las presas efímeras mexicanas, the rest of the text highlights the early forms of water capture along the rivers and streams of New Mexico with a focus on vernacular construction materials and methods. Most of the works and sources cited are accessible to researchers as starting points for in-depth investigation and historic preservation documentation. The photo gallery at the end illustrates a wide range of still existing diversion works and some that have been modified or replaced by the use of modern and more durable materials.