The case study details how an adjudication involving the water rights of Indigenous pueblos downstream of rights held by Hispano irrigators led to a prolonged conflict not with the pueblos but between Cuba valley farmers and the United States Forest Service. It happened that an adjudication decree in federal court mandated the Nacimiento Community Ditch Association to replace its diversion located in a wilderness forest with a modern structure to partition water equitably among all users on the Jémez River. The transmountain diversion, as it was called, took water out of the Jémez basin and dropped it to a canyon that drains water along a tributary creek of the Río Puerco, a different basin. It took years to resolve right-of-way conflicts in favor of the irrigators, which only occurred when oral history testimony by an elder parciante (ditch member) confirmed the prior use of motorized equipment to clean and maintain acequia easements in the wilderness. This essay describes a brief history and resolution of the conflict and concludes with a gallery of photographs from the wilderness and the valley of Cuba.
Rivera, José A. Ph.D. "Transmountain Diversion in the Forest Wilderness: Natural History is Human History." (2023). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/arch_fsp/4