Rio Chiquito Visita
Parciantes are concerned by reduced streamflow, retaining water rights, and changing land use
The Taos Valley Acequia Association held a community visita for the parciantes of the Río Chiquito on Sunday, February 19. Coordinated by the TVAA Leadership and Education Committee, the event took place in the Talpa Community Center from 2:00-3:45 PM. Approximately 35-40 people attended, including parciantes from the Acequia Madre del Río Chiquito, Acequia del Monte, and the Talpa Reservoir.
The purposes of the meeting were for TVAA Board members to consult with parciantes, commissioners, and mayordomos on the Río Chiquito regarding concerns about their acequias, to stimulate stream-wide conversation about common issues, and to help guide the TVAA in envisioning its future, post-Abeyta path in fulfillment of its mission to serve acequia needs and interests.
Refreshments included coffee, tea, water, cheese and crackers, and homemade biscochitos. Live guitar music was featured at the beginning and during the break. And last but not least, Teatro Acequiero made its world debut with a lively skit about the universal acequia themes of conflict and cooperation among parciantes, while also giving voice to the Acequia Madre and the Río itself.
There was general agreement that low youth involvement with acequias and agriculture, delincuencias, and low parciante involvement are long-term challenges.
Parciantes share several concerns
The greatest number of concerns centered on reduced streamflow and retention of water rights. Nine people referred to the reduction of streamflow due to vegetation overgrowth and the need for forest thinning and watershed restoration. Several mentioned beaver dams as a problem.
A number spoke about the danger of selling water rights, separating water from the land, the threats to agriculture posed by residential and subdivision development. One mentioned leasing and in order to preserve agriculture, others the need to bank water not being used in order to keep it in the community.
Some mentioned easement issues on lands purchased and fenced by newcomers unfamiliar with customary traditions of access.
Storm water drainage from the highway into the Acequia Madre was another concern.
Three mentioned the burden and frustrations associated with Forest Service permits and OSE and DFA audits and compliance demands.
Two voiced concern over well drawdown from Town wells and the potential impact of the proposed mitigation wells.