"El Agua es Vida: Acequias in
Acequia irrigation and agriculture created the northern
Every colonial settlement that took root between 1600 and 1847 required the construction of ditches to direct water for crops and livestock. These hand-dug, gravity-fed trenches lure mountain snowmelt through the state's narrow furrows and valleys and into community fields, orchards and gardens.
Before acequias veined the landscape, Pueblo, Apache and Navajo people developed their own irrigation systems as part of their farming methods. They also based their water management on community responsibility and participation.
About 42 percent of acequia-carried water recycles back into the aquifer, feeding the state's rivers, Romanek said. These handmade ditches play a vital environmental role in a state where water is an increasingly scarce and precious resource.
"So it's really the best way to manage the water here in
The show features artwork and 130 objects relating to the digging and maintaining of acequias, as well their end products in farming and cooking.
A Bolivian painting of
A commissioned painting of the
There's a wooden head gate for explorers to pull up and push down, an old shovel donated by famed
The rusted half of a 1950-53 Dodge pickup demonstrates the typical mode of transportation to and from the acequias. Romanek scavenged it from an
A "waterscape" section reveals the larger cultural context of acequias through farming, cooking and faded family photographs donated by Herrera. A bumper sticker proclaiming "Our Acequias, Life, Culture, Tradition" illuminates the political conflict that ensues when communities clash with local, state and federal authorities. In the 1980s local acequia associations began forming regional coalitions to protect and defend their common interests against such threats as the transfer of water rights.
There's even a collection of tin cans littering the bottom of a display case.
The quality and type of trash reveals who lives along the acequia, Romanek added, whether it's beer cans or soccer balls. If you go
WHAT: "El Agua es Vida: Acequias in
HOW MUCH: Free. Call 277-4405 or visit maxwellmuseum.unm/edu
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