Rio Grande del Rancho Visita
Parciantes have a lively discussion and exchange of ideas
The Taos Valley Acequia Association held a community Visita for the parciantes of the Rio Grande del Rancho stream on Sunday, April 2, 2017. Coordinated by the Leadership and Education Committee, the event took place in the Llano Quemado Community Center from 2:00 to about 4:15 PM. Between 38-45 people attended, although only 28 signed in. While the majority of attendees were from the acequias on the RRG, there were also a few parciantes from the other stream systems, including several members of the TVAA Board. Taos News reporter Cody Hooks also attended, and referred to the event in an article about acequias the following week.
Like the Rio Chiquito visita and four more planned for 2017, the purpose of the meeting was to consult with mayordomos, commissioners, and parciantes of the RRG 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 Taos valley acequias.
Refreshments included coffee, lemonade, tea, water, and homemade biscochitos. A map of the RRG system was on display along with a few handouts of interest on an information table. A comment box was also available.
Craig Smith graciously provided live accordion music. During the break Olivia Romo delivered a moving performance of her celebrated poem, “Bendicíon del Agua.”
Only one person mentioned the Mitigation Well issue, noting that while no one else brought it up, surely it was on everyone's mind.
After the break the most frequently mentioned concerns were listed, ranked, and summarized. They included:
Need to update acequia records (membership, current owners, water rights registration, etc.)
Easement violation; encroachments; obstruction of desagües caused by development
Finally, parciantes were invited to offer ideas and suggestions for how these issues might be addressed. Ideas that emerged included:
Year-round events to encourage participation
Start cleaning earlier
Public, community-wide acequia related events, such as at TCA
Develop acequia-related social media platforms to attract youth
Incentives to youth: awards; school recruitment of crews; payment
Court mandated community service (la cultura cura approach)
Customized installment payments; water banking
Education of, cooperation by title companies & realtors
Problem non-coordination of Hydrographic with County assessment records
TVAA can offer assistance with change of ownership; subfiles
TVAA & NMAA help with Bylaw updates; workshops
Development and encroachment issues
County land use code
State water laws
Holding enforcers accountable
Local acequia due diligence always necessary to monitor