spring 2013

Noticias de las Acequias
New Mexico Acequia Association
March 2013
In This Issue...
Message from the Director
Las Acequias y La Primavera
Acequia Funding in the 2013 Legislature
Water Highlights of the 2013 Legislature
Learning to Live with Drought and Water Scarcity 

Dear Parciantes and Acequia Supporters:


In the early Spring, ancestors would look to the sierra, at what was once a vision of snow-capped peaks, in full of hope "que bajaran las aguas" or that the Spring runoff would be flowing soon. We continue this hope but it is tempered by a growing awareness of an extended, severe drought. Like those who came before us, we live with what nature provides. Farmers plant smaller gardens, acequias adopt a rotation schedule, Mayordomos try to keep water flowing, and everyone tries to get along while sharing our very scarce and precious water. We inherited a way of life in which water scarcity and drought shape our way of relating to each other and the land. Yet, even the elders among us attest that this drought is worse than others in their lifetimes. And for many of us, it is the worst drought we have witnessed.


Will we tap into our generational memory and adapt in the same manner as our ancestors? Will we deal with new challenges like vast wildfires, ongoing and potential water contamination, and widespread marketing of water rights that move water out of agriculture between communities? I think the answer to these questions is YES, but with some caveats.


In the acequia community, we often talk about the importance of water sharing customs and traditions. Sharing water is often a work in progress and requires great patience and good faith. Customs are not like rules that are strictly enforced by a higher authority; but are formed after many years of shared understanding and some basic agreements between people. For example, three acequias that share a stream system and have different priority dates could agree on a system of dedicating the acequia water to one acequia at a time in a rotation depending on the amount of irrigation on each acequia. To use another example, an acequia internally could have a system of watering kitchen gardens in the early morning and requiring that pasture irrigating be done on a rotation schedule. Very often, such customs are not written but they are understood because of long-time relationships between neighbors.


The downside of a custom is that it can only only endure as long as it is part of a community through the practice of communication. A combination of lifestyle changes and absentee landowners can disrupt the communication needed to sustain customs and agreements. During times of water shortage, including presently, acequias will have to restore ancient customs and/or generate new customs based on different weather patterns, methods of communication, or irrigation needs on the acequia. This is not a skill that can be taught or learned from a book. It can only come from practice and communicating with each other. The continued survival of acequias depends largely on our ability to be engaged in healthy dialogue with our neighbors.


In addition to the action of self-governance and customary practices necessary to survive, there are other issues that are challenging acequias in different ways. Water transfers, adjudication, water pollution, watershed restoration, and a whole range of issues require that acequia leaders emerge to take on additional tasks beyond the day to day operation of acequias. Just at a time when acequia parciantes are juggling their family, work, and acequia needs, they are being called upon to take leadership on a whole host of other issues. Most of these issues demand a level of policy analysis and political mobilization that extends way beyond any individual acequia or any single village. For example, protecting our watersheds from major fires and flooding demands coordination across many communities and levels of government. Protecting water rights in adjudication has required decades of perseverance. Protecting acequias from water transfers requires updates of bylaws, legal consultation, and coordination between acequias to share lessons learned from legal challenges. So far, many acequia leaders have offered their time, energy, and expertise to this broader acequia movement but many, many more are needed.


NMAA aspires to serve acequias in both affirming the importance of local knowledge and customary practices, and acting as a resource in matters relating to local self-governance and policy advocacy at various levels. During the Spring, we hope to continue being of service and we are happy to attend acequia meetings throughout the state. Please contact our office at (505) 995-9644 if your acequia would like to invite us to a local acequia meeting or to set up a consultation between NMAA staff and one or more representatives from your acequia. Also in that regard, NMAA will host a full-day, statewide acequia conference this summer to contribute to the ongoing dialogue about the future of acequias. We hope to see many experienced as well as emerging acequia leaders in the coming months. !Que Vivan las Acequias!



Yours in service,




Paula Garcia

Executive Director
Las Acequias y La Primavera
By Paula Garcia
Acequia limpia in Chamisal
Acequia Limpia in Chamisal. Photo by Juliet Garcia-Gonzales 

For generation upon generation, the acequia tradition of sacando la acequia has endured in New Mexico and Southern Colorado. We often call water the lifeblood of the community; it is also true that the people are the lifeblood of the acequia. The annual spring cleaning reminds us of the hard work of our ancestors, the significance of water to our way of life, and the hope that renews us this time of year that we will have some water for our fields, crops, gardens, and orchards.   


We can still marvel at the design and the hard work needed centuries ago to create the acequias. Fragments of our history remain and give us an idea of the persistence of those who came before us. In some cases, the contour for the course of the acequia was determined using a bottle with a bubble as a level; and in other cases the water was coaxed to flow along the edge of a valley to help carve out a course for itself. To dig through rock, some stories tell how our predecessors would build a fire and pour water thereby shattering the rock to create the watercourse. We can only imagine that acequias must have taken years of collective labor and cooperation to be created.


La LimpiaThe cleaning of the acequia is one of the few occasions where many of our neighbors see each other. In our acequia, the Mayordomo goes door-to-door with a memo for each parciante providing the details of the spring cleaning. This one-on-one relationship gives us an opportunity to stay connected and to talk about our plans for the growing season. On the morning of the cleaning, the peones with their shovels in hand talk in the resolana before walking to the start of the acequia madre

which is the part maintained in common by all the parciantes. For young men, having the strength to labor for a full day with an acequia crew is part of their coming of age. In addition to their supportive role to cleaning the acequia (meals, etc.), some women also participate in the labor of the spring cleaning.  

During the acequia cleaning, we gain a greater appreciation for the bordo of the acequia which is the ditch bank where the acequia has an easement for collective use for maintenance and improvements of the ditch.  


One of the most enjoyable moments following the cleaning is to see the water flow through the acequia for the first time in the Spring. The hope of growing food for our families and communities is fed each year that the water flows. As long as we have parciantes who are actively irrigating, there will be people who care about keeping the acequia flowing and who will serve as peones to continue the tradition of sacando la acequia each year.


Acequia Meetings. In addition to the spring cleaning, it is also the time of year when many acequias hold their annual meetings. Acequias for generations likely held meetings to discuss the practical day-to-day operation of the acequia, the customs for sharing water, and various other issues of common concern. The requirement of acequia meetings specified in state law probably came later. Today it specifies that an acequia is required to meet at least once every two years. State law specifies the month but also provides flexibility for acequias to have their meetings whenever it is "practicable." Most acequias meet at least once per year for an annual meeting and it is generally held in the Fall or Spring.  


Because acequias and community ditches are recognized in state law as local governments, certain requirements apply to how these meetings are conducted. Some of the key requirements for acequias are as follows: 

  •   Meetings are open to the public and notices have to be posted in a public place. Each year the acequia should adopt an open meetings resolution. Generally, ten days notice is considered reasonable for regular meetings.
  •   Agendas for the meeting should be available in advance of the meeting. The agenda can be amended with action items up to 24 hours before the meeting.
  •  Minutes of each meeting should record the date, time, location, attendees, decisions, and a brief summary of discussion.

Annual acequia meetings are very important not only to conduct business but also for visiting and talking with neighbors. This time for visiting and informal conversation is often accommodated either before or after the official meeting. Once the meetings starts, it is helpful to follow certain guidelines. Generally the President or Chair of the Commission will preside over the meeting. Based on observation over the past few years, acequias that use a common set of procedures, such as Robert's Rules of Order, generally have more efficient meetings. These are some practices that help keep a meeting running smoothly:

  •   One person should speak at a time when called upon by the Chair.
  •   Actions should be taken through motions; and only action items on the agenda can be acted upon.
  •   The Chair (Commission) should clearly understand who is eligible to vote.

With regard to voting, the bylaws should be specific on the voting method. Some acequias use the one parciante-one vote method while others vote according to acreage. The method used for voting and defining a quorum should be consistent with the bylaws of the acequia. The acequia should also be clear about the rules for proxies. State law allows voting by proxy but the acequia can place some guidelines on how they are used. For example, a proxy for an absent parciante should be specific to a certain meeting. It is also essential for the acequia to have an up to date list of parciantes.  


Additional information about acequia meetings is available through our Acequia Governance Handbook which can be found online at www.lasacequias.org.


Easements. The acequia easement is generally known as the "bordo" of the acequia which is the land on either side of the acequia that is a passageway up and down the length of the acequia. This bordo serves a very important role as it provides access to the acequia for essential functions such as the annual cleaning. An acequia easement is a right-of-way along the length of the ditch and its extent is defined in state law as whatever is adequate for reasonable maintenance, use, and improvements.  


The acequia easement also includes the right to gain access to the ditch through traditional points of access, even when that includes crossing a person's property. Both of these elements of the acequia easement are important during the time when acequias do the annual spring cleaning.


According to state law, an acequia has a legal easement as long as it has been used historically, since its establishment, for at least five continuous years. Once an easement is established, it remains intact. Acequias generally have easements that originated between the 1600s and 1800s. The easement exists because of historic use regardless of whether the acequia has documented this easement.

 The springtime often brings to the surface some misunderstandings or disagreements about the nature and extent of acequia easements. To avoid these problems, it is helpful for acequia commissioners and mayordomos to keep their parciantes informed about the acequia easement. Some acequias will define their easement in their bylaws and others will include a description of the easement in a mailout, flyer, or letter to the parciantes and pertinent landowners.  


 Another approach is to have a map of the acequia easement on file in a public place such as the office of the County Clerk. If the acequia creates such a map, every effort should be made to ensure it is accurate and consistent with the historic practices of the acequia. The NMAA offers such mapping assistance.  


 Not all landowners will acknowledge the acequia easement. However, acequia easements are well established in law and acequias have significant powers to protect and enforce their easements. If there is a disagreement about the nature or extent of an easement, the acequia can first seek to resolve the dispute through communication with the landowner. If necessary, the acequia may have to take legal action to enforce the easement. State law provides several remedies including criminal penalties and injunctive relief. Acequias can contact NMAA for referrals to attorneys that can assist in this regard.  


 The most important protection for an acequia easement is its continued use by the acequia. The spring cleaning is a good time to reaffirm the significance of the acequia to the continued survival of agricultural and community traditions of growing food and working together to bring water to the fields and crops of the whole community.

Acequia Funding in the 2013 Legislature
Paula Garcia

NMAA acequia budget priorities were focused on the basic needs of acequias to improve irrigation efficiency with infrastructure repairs and to protect water rights. Based on the priorities outlined by NMAA leadership, our emphasis was on infrastructure funding and other funds related to adjudication of water rights. NMAA made significant gains in HB 2 which was sent to Governor Martinez before the end of the session:

  •  $1.9 million was restored in recurring funding for the Acequia Program at the Interstate Stream Commission (from an initial budget recommendation of $1.0 million). Representative Lucky Varela and the House leadership in addition to several bipartisan House members supported this program. Part of this effort was also to change the 80-20 cost share to a 90-10 cost share to make the program more accessible to acequias. Language was also added requiring that the $1.9 million be set aside specifically for acequia projects and that the ISC has to report to the Legislative Finance Committee and Department of Finance and Administration on expenditures from this fund.
  •  $100,000 of recurring funding was added to the base budget of the Acequia and Community Ditch Fund thanks to Senator Carlos Cisneros who serves as Vice-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Senator Cisneros and Representative Bobby Gonzales carried companion bills, HB 9 and SB 111 for the ACDF. The fund provides resources for legal defense to regional acequia associations involved in active adjudications around the state. The base budget had been reduced in recent years because of across the board budget cuts and this helps to restore part of the original base budget. With this amount, the ACDF base budget will be roughly $600,000 per year.

Capital Outlay: The State Legislature had $228 million in Severance Tax Bond proceeds to appropriate and $128 was allocated for statewide projects while $100 million was allocated by state legislators to local projects. Out of the $100 million allocated for local projects, acequias received $1.47 million in SB 60 (Cisneros). The list can be found at www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/BillFinderCO.aspx


Acequias are urged to contact Governor Susana Martinez to support funding these critical acequia projects. The number is 505-476-2200. She has until April 5th to act on the bill.

Water Highlights of the 2013 Legislature
Paula Garcia

Looking back on the 2013 session, water was a topic of great interest but not one of consensus. Judging by the number of bills addressing water issues, there was a heightened awareness about water and how it should be managed or regulated. Also, the number of capital outlay requests relating to water projects was substantial with requests ranging from rural water systems to major new pipelines to acequia projects of all sizes.  


Water Bills, Memorials, or Agency Funding that Passed

On a positive note, the State Legislature provided $400,000 (SB 481, Smith) in HB 2 funding for the Interstate Stream Commission to update regional water plans around the state. Water planning received broad support during the legislative session because most areas of the state are in severe drought and several policymakers recognized the need for greater planning and mitigation of drought conditions. The legislature passed a memorial (HJM 33, Garcia Richard) that recognizes the importance of return flows of upstream diverters, such as cities, to the downstream agricultural water users. Another memorial (SM 6, Martinez) requested federal agencies to work toward rehabilitation of the Santa Cruz dam. NMAA also supported two other bills that passed; SB 479 and SB 480 (Wirth) require that certain subdivision plat approvals be contingent upon water availability based on a determination by the Office of the State Engineer.  


Water Transfers

Several other water bills relating to water transfers generated discussion and debate but ultimately did not make it through the legislative process. NMAA supported HB 397 (Tripp) which would have required that incomplete applications for water appropriations or water transfers be rejected by the State Engineer but it only made it through its first committee. Also, SB 563 (Beffort) sought to require that the State Engineer make a finding on the impact of a water transfer out of a Critical Management Area in considering a water transfer application. This bill passed two committees in the Senate.  


Water Quality  

Other bills addressed water quality. NMAA supported HB 136 (Egolf), requiring disclosure of fracking fluids, HB 286 (Chasey and Sanchez), which would have updated penalties in the Oil and Gas Act for contamination of groundwater, and HB 335 (Egolf and Sanchez) which would have required groundwater monitoring for oil and gas wells. Only HB 286 made it to a House vote and it failed by a narrow margin. NMAA, along with the NM Association of Counties and several others, opposed SB 483 (Cisneros) which would have preempted county government from any regulation of oil and gas activities, and in response, he withdrew the bill.


Water Management

Several bills addressed water management by the State Engineer. HB 558 (Bandy) and SB 529 (Cervantes) would have amended state statute to attempt to address questions about what information the State Engineer would use for priority administration. SB 494 (Cervantes) sought to clarify in 72-2-9.1 that OSE rules should enforce Article 16 of the state constitution. Neither of these bills passed their first committees. One very interesting memorial was SM 90 (Smith) which requested the State Engineer to develop a list of water claimants and priority dates on the Rio Grande to give policy makers an idea about the practical impact of priority administration. On the last day of the session, the memorial was waiting for a hearing in its first committee. SB 440 (Cervantes) sought $120 million to augment and conserve water in the Lower Rio Grande. The original bill was amended after concerns raised by the State Engineer and Attorney General that the legislative findings were detrimental to New Mexico in ongoing litigation with Texas. The amendment removed the legislative findings and it moved forward as an appropriation bill only.

Springtime Fruit-tree Maintenance 
Patrick Staib 
Photo by Quita Ortiz.
This is the season when fruit trees start to bud. As we await the fragrant springtime blossoms, it is useful to consider several practices that tend to long-term tree health and optimal fruit yields. I had a conversation with longtime Mayordomo, historian, and farmer from Embudo, Estevan Arellano, about the work that he does to his fruit trees in the late winter/early spring. Estevan grows cherries, pears, apples, peaches, apricots and nectarines on his farm in Embudo. He was very helpful in listing several practices that are good reminders that when we take care of the land, water, and plants they will take care of us.

"We prune our fruit trees in January and February," says Estevan. Anytime between January and March is appropriate to prune. "We prune the branches that point inward and downward. We remove the dead branches and we open the canopy para que le pegue la luz y que crezca mas bonita la fruta (so that it gets light and the fruit grows nicer)." Take care not to remove more than 25% of the total canopy in a single year.


Estevan does not cut a branch any thicker than one-inch in diameter, especially in the warmer months. As he explains, "If you need a serrucho (saw), then you better be pruning when the tree is dormant." A farmer should be familiar with the health and growth of every tree on the orchard. When you walk your orchard you recognize what the tress need to thrive, or as Estevan states, "El árbol te lo dice (the tree tells you)."


Of course, Estevan reminds us that young trees (3-years or less) should not be pruned to heavily and the lower branches should stay for stabilization and truck thickening. Older trees should be pruned allow access to fruit, light, and thinning harvest. Early spring is a good time for thinning new shoots, suckers, and branches (deshije). Make sure to cut as close to the main branch as possible. The sap flow of trees in early spring assists in rapid sealing and scaring of these cuts.

As the trees begin to bud, it is important to walk the orchard and take note of how densely budded the branches are. Estevan recommends "entresacando (thinning small fruit)" to reduce the weight on branches and to allow ideal fruit to grow large and sweet. Remove fruit that is at the very ends of smaller branches, thin fruit on larger branches to about 2-inches between each. This will maximize nutrients to the remaining fruit and prevent damage from overloaded branches.  


"Es bueno escoger y entresacar la fruta. De esa forma quedas con la fruta ideal. El arbol responde bien al cuido (It's good to select and thin the fruit. This way you stay with the ideal fruits. The tree responds well to this care), Estevan explained to me.


The last recommendations that Estevan noted were particular to the variety of tree. He claims that trees like apple, pear, and apricot a hardy and have a long productive life (there is a 100-year old apricot on his land that still gives fruit!). Cherries, Peaches, and Nectarines are much more delicate and sensitive to microclimates on the orchard. Keep peaches in the shade to prevent from scalding and don't prune cherries very much. They prefer more shade and struggle with excessive pruning. Prune cherries and peaches less than you would pears and apples, Estevan recommends.


Of course, not all indications are uniform and many farmers have different methods and measures for success. We give thanks to all of those who work hard on the land and keep our acequias full and flowing. The NMAA Farmer and Rancher outreach team is available to work with you to obtain technical or financial assistance to enhance your operation and to work on marketing and vertical integration of your bountiful fruit harvest.

USDA Deadlines & Announcements

Upcoming NAP Deadlines The NAP program (non-insured crop disaster insurance) provides financial assistance to producers of small yield, specialty crops, that aren't typically insurable through most USDA programs. The average cost per crop is $250, not to exceed $750 per year. Here's a list of upcoming crop deadlines: April 15th

-Basil, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, cilantro, eggplant, gourds, honeydew, okra, pumpkins, strawberries, turnips, watermelon.  


REAP Application Deadline, March 29th The Rural Energy for America Program increases energy independence. Through REAP, grant and loan funds are available to finance a range of energy production and conservation projects. These include renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies, energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. The following is a summary of the financing available for each project type, and information about how to apply for financing.  


CRP General Sign-up Period, May 2nd-June 14th The Conservation Reserve Program USDA is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them use environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. Producers enrolled in CRP plant long-term, resource-conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion, and develop wildlife habitat. In return, FSA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years.  


SURE Program Sign-up Period Deadline, June 7th The Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program is authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) to provide assistance to producers suffering crop losses due to natural disasters. SURE is available for crop losses due to natural disasters occurring through Sept. 30, 2011.


For more information or technical assistance regarding these programs, feel free to contact the NMAA Farmer/Rancher Outreach staff at (505) 995-9644.

USDA Discrimination Claims Process Deadline Approaches
By Julia Mullen 
Between 1997 and 2000, African-American, Native American, Hispanic, and female farmers filed four similar class action lawsuits alleging that "the USDA routinely discriminated in its farm benefit programs on the basis of race, ethnicity, and gender, and failed to investigate the claims of farmers who filed discrimination claims with the agency." The cases brought by African-American and Native American famers, known as Pigford and Keepseagle, were settled and in each case the settlement agreement established an administrative claims process that allowed the class members to demonstrate past discrimination by the USDA and entitlement to compensatory damages.


The cases brought by Hispanic and female farmers, known as Garcia and Love, have taken a different path. They were not certified as class actions, unlike Pigford and Keepseagle, and have not settled. The USDA has, however, set up a voluntary administrative claims process to allow Hispanic and female farmers to establish that the USDA discriminated against them and to seek compensation. The alleged discrimination for Hispanics must relate to a farm loan application or farm loan servicing between January 1, 1981 and December 31, 1996, or between October 13, 1998 and October 13, 2000. The dates for female applicants vary slightly. There are three application tiers to choose from, depending on your circumstances, that require you to meet certain criteria. A claims administrator will process the application and a claims adjudicator will decide whether to approve or deny.


As you all know, New Mexico has relatively high rates of Hispanic land ownership, and therefore may have been highly affected by any discrimination against Hispanics on the part of USDA. The Garcia case was filed by a Dona Ana County farmer, Lupe Garcia. Don Bustos, NMAA Concilio member, American Friends Service Committee Director, and esteemed organic farmer from Santa Cruz, has filed a claim alleging he was discriminated against when he was denied a FSA loan to help build his farm infrastructure. We encourage anyone that is Hispanic or female to consider filing a claim if you believe that you experienced farm loan discrimination by USDA within the stated time periods.


The deadline for submitting your application is March 25, 2013, so we encourage you to act quickly if you wish to file a claim. The USDA has a web site set up to assist applicants, at www.farmerclaims.gov. For an overview of the process, go to the Documents section and then see the documents entitled "Summary of Claims Process - Women or Hispanic Farmers or Ranchers" and "Framework". You can download the application documents or request that they be mailed to you. NMAA staff are also available at 505-995-9644 at to help walk you through the process.   


USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA,) Rural Development (RD) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will host a public meetings where USDA program updates and the Hispanic and Women Farmers and Ranchers Claims Process will be discussed.  
February 26th at 9:00am
Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum 
Las Cruces, NM
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World Water Day


"Water is Life!"
Saturday, March 23 
12:00 to 3:00pm 
Northern NM College
Española, NM

A celebration of water and discussion of issues we face together as communities in cooperation. In solidarity with UN World Water Day, and Green For All's Southwest Fellows. ~Local poets, a  "Water is Life" mini panel with representatives from NMAA, HOPE, TWU and NNMC's Environmental Science program. Please bring water for a ceremony and share where its from!

For more info visit http://tewawomenunited.org/upcoming-events or call
(505) 747-3259.  
Farmer/Rancher Outreach Workshop 


"Land-based Opportunities Workshop"


Saturday, April 13th 

2:00 to 3:30pm

Ancianos Center  

Chamisal, NM 


 Learn how to access programs intended to help grow and sustain your farm or ranching operation, and join a discussion on Farmer/Producer challenges.    

 Co-hosted by NMAA and the National Immigrant Farming Initiative. For more info contact Serafina Lombardi at (505) 995-9644 or email serafina@lasacequias.org 

Producers' Forum 


"Celebrating Land-based Life Ways"

April 5th & 6th

TCEDC Business Park

1021 Salazar Rd.

Taos, NM 


This event is open to the public and is set to feature a number of presenters and demonstrations.  CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS!   



Gas stipends are available on a first come, first serve basis.  


  Co-sponsored by the Taos County Economic Development Corp and the New Mexico Acequia Association. For more info call (575) 758-8731 or email tcedc@tcedc.org 
31st National Pesticide Forum


Farms and Food: 
Resilient Communities Through Organic Practices
April 5th & 6th
Albuquerque, NM 

Hosted by Beyond Pesticides

For more info and to register for the event click here.
Earth Day Workshop at 
Ghost Ranch  


"Water's for 

Cooperating Over"


 April 5th - April 7th
This program will examine historic instances in which societies have come together to share nature's most precious resource. Folklorist Jack Loeffler, Anthropologist Rina Swintzell, and Historian Estevan Arellano will present stories which highlight such social systems, explode the myth of water conflict and point toward a future with 'just enough' water for human and nature's uses. 
Click here for more info

Technical Assistance 



The NMAA offers technical assistance on Acequia Governance and USDA programs for landowners. If any of these questions apply to you or your acequia, please submit a Request for Technical Assistance.

Become a Member!

Become a member of the New Mexico Acequia Association! Parciante and Supporter Memberships are $20/year and includes a quarterly newsletter subscription. Membership for an Acequia is $40/year including a newsletter subscription for all four officers.


The NMAA is a charitable, educational non-profit organization that relies on membership contributions and foundations for its general operating expenses. We rely on folks who join as members and to contribute membership dues and donations to support our work. It has never been more important to have a united front to protect our acequias and strengthen our food and agricultural traditions.


 New Mexico Acequia Association   

Concilio (Board of Directors)

Antonio Medina

Harold Trujillo

James Maestas

Jackie Powell

Gilbert Sandoval

Alfredo Montoya

Don Bustos

Facundo Valdez 

Stephen Trujillo

Medardo Sanchez

Yolanda Jaramillo




Paula Garcia, Executive Director


Julia Mullen, Associate Director 


Cheryl James, Program Director

Janice Varela, Acequia Governance Specialist


 Quita Ortiz, Communications & Project Specialist


Pilar Trujillo, Project Specialist


Lucille Trujillo, Membership Coordinator


Juliet Garcia-Gonzales, Community Project Coordinator


Alejandro Lopez, Project Coordinator


Carlos Bustos,

Acequia Governance Staff


Patrick Staib, Farmer/Rancher Outreach Coordinator  


Jason Jaramillo, Farmer/Rancher Outreach Staff


Serafina Lombardi, Farmer/Rancher Outreach Staff


Allayne Scott, Business Manager


Lori Spillman, Event Coordinator 


Elena Misumi, Bookkeeper




Thank You!!!  

The New Mexico Acequia Association greatly acknowledges the support and dedication of the many parciantes and supporters who are NMAA members and who have made donations.


Thanks to our foundation supporters including (in alphabetical order) Catholic Campaign for Human Development, The Christensen Fund, Marguerite Casey Foundation, New Mexico Community Foundation, McCune Foundation, Panta Rhea Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


We also greatly appreciate the financial support provided to us by state and federal sources: the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Advocacy and Outreach; and the State of New Mexico's Department of Finance Administration.