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Town of Taos Acequia Ordinance

Presa for North and South Acequias del Rio Don Fernando de Taos -Photo taken by Olivia Romo, NMAA Staff

With the help of the NMAA, TVAA, and local acequias, the Town of Taos continues to fine-tune its ordinance passed in August that protects acequias from potentially damaging encroachment on any part of the acequia network.  The current ordinance, known as the Hahn Amendment (after Councilman Fritz Hahn, an acequia advocate who proposed the amendment) enhanced the local land use development code to require acequia approval for any development on land that contains any part of the acequia network and easement, including the acequia madre, laterals, point of diversion, and desagues.  The current version is found at 16.20.060.02 of the Town Code.  Changes NMAA has advocated for include a clearer process for what happens in the event that an acequia does not respond to a developer’s request for approval; a default setback requirement that mirrors the easement in an affected acequia’s bylaws, and in the case that an acequia does not define an easement in their bylaws, the broad statutory easement granted to acequias; and removal of language concerning abandonment.

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