Llano Water Sharing
By Ralph Vigil
In December 2014, Chairman Ralph Vigil, NM Acequia Commission (NMAC) and State Representative David Gallegos, (District 61, Lea County) attended the Nuestro Rio Regional Water Caucus meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nuestro Río is a network of Latinos in the West that use our collective voice to educate our communities about the history of Latinos and the Colorado River and its tributaries in the West. Nuestro Rio works with Latino local elected officials in NM, CO, AZ, NV and California to ensure that Latinos are engaged in the decision making process on western water policy at the Federal, State and Local levels of government.
During the 2015 Regular Session of the New Mexico State Legislature, Acequia Commission Chairman Ralph Vigil worked closely with Senator Carlos Cisneros, the NM Acequia Association, Representative Paul Bandy and Representative David Gallegos on SJM 18 "which recognized the importance of acequias to New Mexico's culture and economy, and requested that the NM Legislative Council Service assign the appropriate interim committee to dedicate one or more days in the interim to address acequia issues".
During the 2015 Regular Session of the NM State Legislature, Representative David Gallegos, requested that the Parciantes of the El Llano Ditch Company be allowed to present at the February 2015 Acequia Commission meeting to address concerns that had been brought to his attention by the acequia users.
The El Llano Ditch Company is an acequia that shares water between Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado jurisdictions. Water disputes over water allocation to the various users have been an issue of contention for many years. Members from Southern Colorado and Northern NM presented their perspectives on the acequia issues in their respective area.
After the NMAC meeting, Representative David Gallegos, requested that the NM Acequia Commission accompany him to Antonito, Colorado to meet with the acequia members of Northern NM and Southern Colorado to see if there would be a way to address the disputes between the various acequia users.
El Llano Ditch Company – Located between Northern NM and Southern Colorado – Antonito Colorado
A meeting was held In Antonito, Colorado between the Parciantes of the "El Llano Ditch Company", NM and Colorado acequia members, Representative David Gallegos, NMAC Chairman Ralph Vigil, Colorado State Inter-stream Commission staff and Robert Apodaca. After taking a tour of the area and listening to the concerns of the users, it was agreed upon by both New Mexico and Colorado acequia users to install two meter stations in Northern NM to monitor the flows that are being delivered to the acequias in the area.
As a result, Representative David Gallegos and The New Mexico Acequia Commission met with the NM Interstate Commission and NM State Engineer staff to identify funding for installation of the flow meters. Staff from the Office of the State Engineer have been very responsive and are optimistic in identifying funding for this project. NMAC will continue to work with the El Llano Ditch Company, acequia members, NM ISC and NM OSE to identify solutions and resolve issues identified in Antonito, Colorado and other areas of NM.
Representative David Gallegos, Chairman Ralph Vigil, Members of El Llano Ditch Company, Acequia users Northern NM and Southern Colorado and Colorado Interstate Commission Staff