El Primera Agua on Acequia Madre del Rio Chiquito, Taos NM- Photo taken by Theresa Webb
Las Comadres de las Acequias is a group of women leaders with the New Mexico Acequia Association that works to strengthen our acequias through more engagement of women and youth. In many families, youth are involved in "sacando la acequia," a long-standing tradition which will only continue if we keep our youth and young children actively involved in acequia activities. We are announcing a "Call to Action" urging all acequias to invite youth to their Spring meetings and to your "primer agua," or the opening day with the first water on your acequia.
1) Involve youth in your annual membership meeting:
Find out soon when your annual acequia membership meeting will take place and ask the Commissioners to include an agenda item recognizing local youth. Think about which youth in your area who you would like to be involved in your acequia and invite them to the meeting. Request that the youth be recognized and welcomed at the beginning of the agenda. Some acequias may want to create an advisory position on the commission for one or more youth. This is a way to give young people more experience in acequia matters and to encourage them to play a leadership role now or in the future.
2) El Primer Agua: Create a Community Celebration:
Coordinate youth and families to celebrate "el primer agua," which is the first day that water is diverted from the river into the acequia and available for use by the parciantes. In many communities, this is a significant day and we are encouraging more communities to make "primer agua" a festive occasion to involve youth. Festivities may be a picnic, a walk in the acequia being followed by the water, open-air poetry, etc. Ask youth to present along with others. Take lots of photos and ask youth to write a brief reflection of the experience in a letter, poem or song letting the world know how they feel about the acequias and water. Key elements of our movimiento en defensa del agua are celebration and encouraging youth involvement, the blessing and excitement of our first water flows is the perfect moment to come together!
Let's make 2017 a celebration of youth, a time for nurturing souls to allow for an educational experience for the next generation…and only you can get this done! Adelante y con ánimo!
For more information or ideas, please feel free to reach out to one of the following Comadres de las Acequias: