Zanjeras are farmer-managed irrigation systems that have endured for centuries in the Ilocos region of northern Luzon in the Philippines. These cooperative irrigation societies emerged during the Spanish regime when Augustinians were deployed to congregate indigenous populations into pueblos, convert them to Christianity, and raise tributes for the Crown. Zanjeras evolved from a blending of two traditions: the Iberian model of irrigation and indigenized practices of water-for-land exchanges with landowners and atar-holdings to distribute shares among the members. Like other community-based irrigation systems in Southeast Asia and globally, zanjeras are self-governed, long-enduring, and serve as exemplary models of sustainable resource management. This essay presents a brief history of zanjeras and includes a comparison with the acequias of southern Colorado and New Mexico in the southwestern United States. A photo gallery of zanjera landscapes appears at the end.
Rivera, José A. Ph.D. "The Zanjeras of Ilocos in the Northern Philippines: A Legacy of Sustainable Resource Management." (2023). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/arch_fsp/6