NM Acequias: Tradition & Adaptation

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The Art of Mayordomia

The New Mexico Acequia Association will host a statewide acequia workshop on June 26th at the Santa Fe Community College. The theme of this conference is “Tradition and Adaptation” to recognize the importance of the traditional knowledge and customs that are vital to the management and care of the acequia. The theme also highlights the importance of acequia adaptation to new challenges. Acequia officials are now called upon to not only keep water flowing in the acequia for crops, gardens, and livestock, but they also must understand how to operate as local institutions of government. 

We are also very pleased to present for the first time a screening of “The Art of Mayordomía” which honors the knowledge and wisdom of Mayordomos and highlights the importance of encouraging new Mayordomos to serve.

We will also provide a brief overview of the various areas in which your acequia can request assistance from the New Mexico Acequia Association including acequia bylaws, acequia easements, infrastructure planning, effective meetings, enforcement, and others.  We will conclude the workshop with a session about Acequia Enforcement including a presentation by Tomás Trujillo, Office of the Eighth Judicial District Attorney, about legal tools and strategies to protect acequias from illegal uses of water, misuse of the acequia easement, and other common problems.

We hope you or someone from your acequia can attend this workshop. We will also encourage attendees to follow up with NMAA staff if you are interested in technical assistance on a specific topic. The NMAA is asking for a modest registration fee of $10 per person to cover the cost of food.  Please register by calling the NMAA office at 505-995-9644.



· To gain an appreciation and understanding for the important role of traditional, local knowledge in the care and allocation of water by acequias.

· To provide an opportunity for acequia parciantes to engage in dialogue about current challenges facing acequias.

· To give an overview of topics of importance to acequias as local institutions of government.

· To connect acequias to technical assistance resources available through the NMAA.

8:30am Registration
9:00am Welcome and Introductions
9:30am Mayordomo Perspectives on New Mexico’s Drought – Mayordomos will reflect on the currentand their approach to keeping acequia water flowing in their acequias. They will discuss acequia custom and tradition, the art of asserting decisions over water while getting along with parciantes, the role of acequia enforcement powers, and the need to strengthen knowledge and participation in our acequias.
10:30am Break
11:00am The Art of Mayordomíascreening. This film tells the story of the Mayordomo Project, an effort by the NMAA to encourage acequia parciantes to serve as Mayordomos in their local acequias.  Several Mayordomos share their experiences in the hope that others will step into their shoes to carry on the tradition.  The film was co-produced by the New Mexico Acequia Association and the Ortiz Center for Intercultural Studies at the University of New Mexico.
11:30am Lunch
12:30pm Overview of Training Topics for Commissioners and Mayordomos – NMAA provides technical assistance and workshops for acequias on a variety of topics on Acequia Governance.  This session will include a very brief overview of each of these topics along with related handouts. Participants will be encouraged to work with NMAA staff to schedule follow up meetings, workshops, or consultations with local acequias as needed. Effective Meetings:  Notice, Agendas, Minutes, Rules of Order. Communication with Parciantes: Lists, Billing, Enforcement of Delinquencies. Financial Management:  Financial Statements, Reporting, Audits. Bylaws:  Defining membership, voting rights, etc. Infrastructure Planning. Water Rights: Water Allocation, Water Banking, Water Transfers. Acequia Easements. Other Legal Issues: Tips on avoiding litigation or defending your Acequia if it is sued.
2:15pm Break
2:30pm Enforcement: The Role of Acequia Officials and District Attorneys. As acequias face long-term drought, development pressures, and other challenges, Commissioners and Mayordomos increasingly need to enforce acequia laws and bylaws.  This session will address different approaches to conflict management and enforcement by acequias as well as the role of District Attorneys, from internal administrative measures to civil and criminal court actions. Presenters:  David Benavides, NM Legal Aid and Tomas Trujillo, Investigator/Program Director with Office of the Eighth Judicial District Attorney in Taos
4:00pm Closing