By Janice Varela
Earlier this year, the New Mexico Acequia Association held a workshop on Acequia Infrastructure Planning, Acequia Repairs and Legislative Capital Outlay funding. David F. Garcia of NMAA kicked off the workshop with his song, "Cancion de las Acequias", which set the tone for an upbeat meeting. Over 40 commissioners, mayordomos and parciantes attended this meeting at the Lodge Hotel in Santa Fe. Clifford Sanchez, State Conservationist of Water Resources of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) presented on their programs available for acequias. NMAA recommends that Acequias contact their local NRCS offices to schedule a consultation to assess their infrastructure needs. Beatriz Vigil of the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) talked about their low cost loans and grants available to acequias. Community stories were shared by Gael Minton, Acequia del Monte del Rio Chiquito (Talpa) commissioner; Frank Romero, Acequia del Medio (Cordova) commissioner; and the mayordomo of the Acequia de la Cienega (Santa Fe), Reynaldo Romero, on how they went about planning, seeking and obtaining funding and finally completing their projects. Vince Cordova of the West Puerto de Luna Acequia (Guadalupe Co.) talked about replacement of their dam at a cost of $2.3 million dollars. They engaged the Army Corp of Engineers, NRCS, the ISC and received legislative Capital Outlay funding. He spoke of the significance of planning and completing the ICIP process to later obtain funds for their project.
The Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP) is a 5-year plan with the purpose of identifying infrastructure needs, prioritizing them, and determining the most appropriate funding source you should apply for to complete projects. We strongly encourage acequias to engage in the ICIP process – they are web-based, and the deadline is at the end of September each year. This plan is printed and given to the Governor and legislators at the beginning of each session so they can anticipate their constituent needs. I am available to assist with planning and input of the ICIP into web based system.
Contact our office if you would like to begin the ICIP process. Thanks to everyone who attended and participated in this workshop!