El Aqua es La Vida” (Water is Life) is a ubiquitous bumper sticker on trucks, mini vans and tractors in New Mexico, Colorado and the greater southwest. Besides a succinct, pithy statement for natural resource management, the maxim references a land ethic that is particularly evidenced in acequia communities. Put simply, acequias are human-constructed hydrological systems that deliver water to agricultural fields. These community-governed irrigation systems are common in southwestern states– particularly northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. However, the English connotation of ‘irrigation ditch” fails to reflect the different levels of meaning associated with these important water channels. A comprehensive understanding of the importance of acequia irrigation systems and communities, in the southwest requires an interdisciplinary exploration of history, technology, ecology, language and culture.
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Southwestern Acequia Systems and Communities; Nurturing a Culture of Place,
Nat. Resources J.
Available at: https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/nrj/vol61/iss2/3