spring 2013

Join us for the 14th Annual
Congreso de las Acequias!
New Mexico Acequia Association

Acequia Leaders to Be Honored at Congreso
A number of acequias leaders from throughout the state will be honored for their contributions to the acequia movement at the Congreso de las Acequias this Saturday at the Bishop's Lodge in Tesuque.

Facundo Valdez will receive NMAA's highest honor with the Lifetime Achievement Award. He is best known for his pioneering work in community health as the founder of the Social Work Program at New Mexico Highlands University and as the Executive Director of Sangre de Cristo Community Mental Health Services. Facundo's leadership has been appreciated locally and nationally in his service to the Con Alma Foundation and as a founding member of the National Council de la Raza. He has served on the NMAA Concilio for over 15 years and is also a commissioner for Acequia de San Jose along the Pecos River. Although he is retiring from the Concilio, he has been appointed as the founding member of the Consejo de las Acequias to advise acequias matters relating to acequia governance.

Other award recipients include Lorenzo Candelaria and Dora Pacias (Outstanding Acequia Farmers); Jasper and Orlina Tucket (Outstanding Acequia Farmers); and Robert Baca (Outstanding Mayordomo). Additionally, the NMAA will honor Sylvia Rodriguez, Gilbert Sandoval, Kenny Salazar, Juanita Revak, David Garcia, and Elise Trott for their contributions to the Mayordomo Project. To date, the team has created educational tools and compiled them into a multimedia educational toolkit which will be available for the first time at the Congreso. The toolkit includes "The Art of Mayordomia" short film on DVD with Special Features which includes footage of field visits and interviews with mayordomos in various communities, narration by members of the Mayordomo Project Team, and an original music score including a song by David Garcia. The Mayordomo Handbook & Field Guide is a booklet that summarizes many of the lessons learned through the Mayordomo Project as well as useful information about the laws that govern acequias and the duties of the mayordomo.

Also at the Congreso, the NMAA will be recognizing the organization's founders including Harold Trujillo, David Lujan, and Laurie Weahkee. Together they acquired funding for the first statewide gathering of acequias in 1988, when they established the first board. In 1989 they received recognition for the organization from the legislature in the form of a memorial that was sponsored by Senator Carlos Cisneros. Their vision and dedication set the foundation for the today's acequia movement!

Please see program below for more details about the event. It will be held at the Bishop's Lodge in Tesuque. Directions can be found here: http://goo.gl/maps/BCnMc

Rain or Shine, NMAA's Statewide Annual Meeting Will Take Place THIS Saturday
State Engineer, Scott Verhines
Above: Last year's Congreso de las Acequias in Santa Fe. 
The National Weather Advisory cautions a winter storm moving through the northern part of the state on Friday and Saturday. Our Congreso de las Acequias will take place, rain or shine. We value the much needed snow and recognize it as a blessing. With that said, we urge attendees to use discretion while traveling and be safe on the road. We hope to you see you there!

"Strengthening Community in Times of Water Scarcity" is the theme of the 14th annual Congreso de las Acequias hosted by the New Mexico Acequia Association. The annual event is the largest statewide meeting of acequia leaders in New Mexico.


The event will take place on Saturday, November 23 at the Bishop's Lodge in Tesuque. Directions can be found here.  It will feature Congressman Ben Ray Lujan as the event's keynote speaker. Other speakers include Senator Peter Wirth speaking on "Perspectives on Water Policy and Long-Term Drought" and Senator Carlos Cisneros speaking on "Acequia Issues in the 2014 Legislative Session".


Additionally, NMAA leadership Don Bustos, Harold Trujillo, Medardo Sanchez, and Fred Vigil will examine issues of drought, water sharing and agriculture and will be joined by Dr. Sam Fernald, Director of the Water Resources Research Institute at NMSU, about his acequia resiliency research.  


In the same year that New Mexico was named "state with the most extreme weather" the state's centuries old acequias persist, adapt and continue to be the keystone of New Mexico agriculture. This year we will feature a program that brings together our acequia leaders and supporters for a discussion about acequia adaptation to long-term drought and weather extremes. According to Paula Garcia, NMAA Executive Director, "The goal is to work together as a community to keep acequias flowing well into the 21st century and to cultivate more locally-grown food."  


The Congreso de las Acequias is NMAA's governing body. Acequia delegates from around the state meet together annually to vote on resolutions that help to usher NMAA's policy work in the areas of land, water, and agriculture.    


What: Congreso de Las Acequias: NMAA Statewide Annual Meeting

When: Saturday, November 23, 2013, 8:30-4pm

Where: Bishop's Lodge, Tesuque NM

Contact: 505-995-9644, www.lasacequias.org 

Details: Registration free $20, lunch provided, ALL WELCOME


Below is the program. Avoid long lines by pre-registering online. Online registration will remain open until 5:00pm today.




Welcome and Introductions

Opening Prayer

Music by David Garcia



Call to Order & Roll Call


Bendición de las Aguas


The State of New Mexico Acequias: Paula Garcia

Acequia Leaders Speak on Adaptation to Long-Term Drought:

Medardo Sanchez and Fred Vigil - Acequia Water Sharing in the 21st Century  

Don Bustos and Harold Trujillo - Acequia Agriculture and Irrigation Strategies for the next 100 Years


Connecting Acequia Tradition to Scientific Research and Water Policy

Sam Fernald - Overview of Research on Acequia Resiliency

Senator Peter Wirth - Perspectives on Water Policy and Long-Term Drought



Keynote: Congressman Ben Ray Lujan

Acequia Awards 


Acequia Issues in the 2014 Legislative Session

Senator Carlos Cisneros


Congreso de las Acequias - 2013 Annual Meeting

Approval of Agenda

Approval of Minutes from 2012 Congreso de las Acequias

2013 NMAA Annual Report


Election of Concilio




NMAA Proud to Host Congressman Lujan at Congreso de las Acequias This Saturday



Congressman Ben Ray Lujan will be the keynote at the event.  Born and raised in New Mexico, Rep. Ben Ray Luján grew up in Nambe, a small farming community north of Santa Fe bordered by the pueblos of Nambe and Pojoaque. There he learned the time-honored traditions and values of New Mexico.  At the beginning of the 113th Congress, Rep. Luján was appointed to the House Democratic Leadership as a Chief Deputy Whip.  In this new position, he works to create jobs and build a brighter future for all Americans.  Luján is also the 1st Vice Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. His work in Congress to ensure that the Hispanic community is included in the emerging clean energy economy earned him the recognition of one of Hispanic Business Magazine's 100 Most Influential Hispanics. 

Rep. Lujan has been a dedicated advocate of the agricultural traditions of northern New Mexico, including acequias.  He recently achieved bi-partisan support for an amendment to the House version of the Farm Bill to streamline EQIP applications for acequias and community ditches to support water conservation and efficiency.  He is also promoting policy reforms to improve access to federal public lands by community land grants and acequias to practicestraditional uses including maintenance of acequia irrigation works.   


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The New Mexico Acequia Commission (NMAC) will hold their next meeting this Friday:

November 22nd
Highlands University
Las Vegas, NM

For more info visit their website.

Celebrando las Acequias 2013    

The Celebrando las Acequias Summary Analysis document is now available:

For a copy click here.

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, contributing dues that 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.


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.