Even the smallest plots of land and those raising only a few animals during the census year are counted.
|Pueblo Lateral||Bernalillo||Rio Grande|
|Tigner #1 Community Ditch||Grant||Mimbres River|
|Upper Gila Ditch||Grant||Gila River|
|Chosas Ditch South||Lincoln||Rio Hondo|
|Frank Allison Ditch||Lincoln||Rio Hondo|
|Acequia de La Joya||Mora||Naciemento/La Sierra|
|Acequia del Canon de Luna||Mora||Luna Canyon|
|Rainsville Norte||Mora||Coyote Creek|
|Tularosa Community Ditch||Otero||Tularosa Creek|
|Abeyta-Trujillo Ditch||Rio Arriba||Rio Chama|
|Acequia de La Plaza de Dixon||Rio Arriba||Río Embudo|
|Acequia De Los Barriales||Rio Arriba||Rio Las Tusas|
|Cordova-Martinez Acequia||Rio Arriba||Rio Capulin|
|Puerco Ditch||Rio Arriba||Coyote|
|Farmer’s Mutual Ditch||San Juan||Upper Colorado|
|Halford Ditch||San Juan||Animas River|
|Acequia La Rosa de Costilla||Sandoval||Las Huertas Creek|
|Acequia Agua Fria||Santa Fe||Santa Fe River|
|Acequia de los Ortiz de Nambe||Santa Fe||Nambe River|
|Acequia del Llano||Santa Fe||Santa Fe River|
|Potrero Ditch||Santa Fe||Santa Cruz|
|Monticello Community Ditch||Sierra||Alamosa Creek|
|Acequia De Cerro De Guadalupe||Taos||West Latir Creek|
By Enrique Romero, NMAA Staff Attorney
New Mexico law requires that an elected official of an acequia – commissioners or mayordomo – be an owner of “an interest in the ditch or the water therein”. An “interest” in this case is a term of art and refers to a legal interest, or some form of property interest, in the water or the acequia. The clearest example of having a legal interest is being the owner of land with water rights served by the acequia. If your name is on a deed as the grantee and there is no reservation of water rights to the grantor, or if the deed is silent on the issue of ownership of water rights, most likely you are the owner of the land and the water rights appurtenant (belonging) to the land described in the deed. As the owner of the land with water rights served by the acequia, you have a legal interest in the “ditch or the water therein” and have the right to hold office on that particular acequia. Most acequias define membership in their respective bylaws in this exact way: members are those landowners with water rights served by the acequia, and may therefore vote and hold office.
There are a few conclusions we can draw from this analysis. First, landowners that do not have water rights served by an acequia, but whose property the acequia traverses, are welcome to attend meetings of that acequia but do not have the right to vote or hold office. Likewise, family members of landowners with water rights who themselves do not own land with water rights served by that acequia may not hold office on that acequia, and may only vote on behalf of a landowner through a valid proxy vote. One cannot hold office via proxy.
We know, however, that it is not always easy to determine whether an individual is member of the ditch or not. Not everyone can readily prove up a deed showing that he or she is the current owner of the land and along with the land the water rights appurtenant to it. And we know that in some cases land is held jointly, or provisionally, in an estate; or after the death of landowner land may have to be probated; or – and hopefully this is rare – a deed has not been recorded with the county clerk. In each of these situations, the burden should be on the individual who wants to vote or hold office to prove up his or her “interest” in the acequia. Most acequia bylaws require members to provide updated information to the acequia for this very reason. Considering the difficulty acequias face in recruiting new officers, the last thing anyone wants is for someone who is sincerely interested in acequia governance to be denied the ability to hold office because there is no record of ownership in the acequia’s official records of that person being an owner of an interest in the acequia. Therefore, locate your deeds or other legal paperwork and provide copies to the acequia – and to the State Engineer to be really thorough – to avoid any confusion on election day, or any other day when you want your vote to count.
As political subdivisions, acequias are required to follow the Open Meetings Act, which is intended to allow the public access to decision-making by elected officials. The Open Meetings Act requires that meetings of the acequia be open to the public and that such meetings can only be held after reasonable notice.
Each acequia should consider adopting an Open Meetings Act resolution that specifies the time and method for providing notice. NMAA has provided a template at:
The template resolution includes:
- The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has determined that minimum reasonable notice is public posting at least 10 days prior for regular meetings, at least 3 days prior for special meetings, and at least 24 hours (1 day) prior for emergency meetings (additional notice optional such as email, snail mail or as specified in your bylaws).
- The agenda should be posted or available (the notice should specify how to obtain a copy of the agenda) within 72 hours of the scheduled meeting time.
- It is especially important that any action items be identified on the agenda prior to the meeting.
- The acequia must keep written minutes of all meetings, which include at a minimum the date, time, and place of the meeting, the names of commissioners in attendance and those absent, the substance of the proposals considered, and a record of any decisions and votes taken that show how each commissioner voted. Draft minutes must be prepared within 10 working days after the meeting and approved, amended or disapproved at the next meeting where a quorum is present. They are official only after they are approved. All minutes are open to public inspection.
- For more information about compliance with the OMA, contact the NMAA at 505-995-9644.
NMAA is available to attend acequia meetings by invitation. Please let us know if you would like NMAA staff to attend or to give a presentation on a range of topics related to water rights or acequia governance. It is best if we could have a two week notice of your meeting.
We will honor our winners at the Congreso de las Acequias on
By Maya Pena
Follow your gaze
Across lighting split skies creating nitric oxide,
Percolation reaching roots that in turn will help life reach for light.
Rows of water obey shovel’s petitions,
Performing a symbiotic cycle of water and farmer.
Commissioning heirloom seeds to feed another generation,
Memories of famine and starvation fading with every basket of corn.
Pride is palpable as relatives present gifts of harvest,
In that moment The Earth is Our Earth,
Because life is a consequence of collaboration,
And land is our most faithful partner.
Sembrando Semillas Atrisco Site -Photo taken by Travis Mckenzi
Youth Acequia Art Contest
For ages 4 – 18 years
“What does acequia culture mean to you?
“Why are acequias important to your family, culture, or community?”
Get Creative! Submit photos, poems, videos, paintings, sketches, mixed media, models, and MORE!
You could win the following prizes:
1st Place: $75.00 & NMAA T-Shirt | 2nd Place: $50.00 & NMAA T-Shirt | 3rd Place: $25.00 & NMAA T-shirt
*Winners will be recognized at the 2017 Congreso de las Acequias!
Art must be submitted by October 13, 2017
Submissions must be sent either by mail or electronically, in high resolution jpeg format. Please mail to NM Acequia Association 805 Early Street Bldg. B, Suite 203 Santa Fe, NM 87505 or email to email@example.com along with the following information:
*Participants are limited to one entry per category.
Terms and conditions: Upon photo submission, you agree to the use of your photo(s) in NMAA materials including but not limited to publications, calendar, website pages, and outreach materials. Photo credit will be given where appropriate.