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  • Writer's pictureTaos Acequias

Rio Pueblo Visita

Concerns about acequia conditions emerge as top priority

The Taos Valley Acequia Association held a Visita for parciantes of the Río Pueblo on Sunday, August 27, 2017 in the Kit Carson Electric Co-op Board Room. The meeting began around 2:20 and ended at 5:00 PM.

Forty-seven people attended, not including six members of TVAA's Leadership and Education Committee. The majority of attendees were RP parciantes, although several vocal participants were from Arroyo Seco.

The purpose of the meeting was to consult with mayordomos, commissioners, and parciantes regarding concerns about their acequias; to stimulate stream-wide conversation about common issues; and to help inform the TVAA as it charts its future post-Abeyta path of service to the Taos Valley acequias.

Parciantes reported different experiences and outcomes: many were satisfied and believed their acequia was well-run while others expressed concern about governance, lack of transparency, and inconsistent access to water.

Differing views on acequia conditions

Several speakers took the opportunity to voice their concerns about the Abeyta Settlement and mitigation wells, which some mistakenly believed was the purpose of the meeting. Others expressed at length their feelings about Mother Earth, the transcendent beauty of water and acequias, or the evils of water privatization.

A number of concerns about acequia conditions did emerge, listed below in order of frequency:

  1. Need for greater participation

  2. Governance and management issues, including inadequate notice of meetings, transparency, availability of Bylaws

  3. Loss of water rights through abandonment or transfer

  4. Need for more information about acequias

  5. Mitigation wells

  6. Development and urbanization

  7. Low youth involvement

  8. Need to protect springs

  9. Obstruction of laterals

  10. Trash

  11. Invasive plant and animal species (prairie dogs)

  12. Right of way

  13. Infrastructure maintenance

  14. Tracking ownership changes

  15. Delincuencias

  16. Desagües

Also mentioned were the Town’s current initiatives to repair acequia infrastructure, secure volunteer labor that will need some kind of liability coverage, and to institute a protective ordinance for acequias inside municipal boundaries. The Town is a parciante.

Next steps

After a robust discussion, several suggestions were made that will help move the conversation forward toward action. Those suggestions included:

  1. Newsletter with acequia reports

  2. Better coverage in the Taos News

  3. Regular TVAA Board communication to their constituents

  4. Use of technology & social media

  5. Information about land and water ownership transfers

  6. Legislation for realtor education and accountability to acequia associations


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