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Acequia

Water Sharing, Sanctity, and Place

Sylvia Rodríguez

Acequia2006. 216 pp., 17 black-and-white illustrations, notes, glossary, references, index, 7 x 102006. 216 pp., 17 black-and-white illustrations, notes, glossary, references, index, 7 x 10

Every society must have a system for capturing, storing, and distributing water, a system encompassing both technology and a rationale for the division of this finite resource. Today, people around the world face severe and growing water scarcity, and everywhere this vital resource is ceasing to be a right and becoming a commodity. The acequia or irrigation ditch associations of Taos, Río Arriba, Mora, and other northern New Mexico counties offer an alternative. Few northern New Mexicans farm for a living anymore, but many still gather to clean the ditches each spring and irrigate fields and gardens with the water that runs through them. Increasingly, ditch associations also go to court to defend their water rights against the competing claims brought by population growth, urbanization, and industrial or resort development. Their insistence on the traditional “sharing of waters” offers a solution to the current worldwide water crisis.

IMPORTANT NOTICE || August 1, 2015

This volume is available. SAR Press is moving our order fulfillment to UNM Press and new orders will be delayed by several weeks. Until they are up and running, new book orders can be emailed to press[at]sarsf.org or faxed to (505) 954-7241. We will forward your orders to UNMP. Thank you for your patience.

Awards

  • 2007 Association of Latino and Latina Anthropologists Book Award
    Winner 

Contributors: Sylvia Rodríguez

View the Table of Contents

Download an excerpt (PDF, 34 KB).

Read Reviews

  • “[This book is] a unique and valuable contribution…. No one else could have written it.”
    Dr. Emlen Hall, University of New Mexico
  • “...Rodriguez writes a fascinating account of the interaction of water, faith, and landscape in northern New Mexico.

    Sylvia Rodriguez's Acequia details the historic management of water and its impact on daily life in the Taos Valley…. In addition to this story, which recalls a way of life that dates to Spanish colonial times, she explores the ongoing legal disputes over who owns and controls the life-giving liquid.”
    Jon Hunner, New Mexico State University, Western Historical Quarterly Vol. XXXIX, No. 2, Summer 2008
  • “[Sylvia Rodriguez] deftly integrates the daily labor investments in ditch and field maintenance with the deeply embedded religious rituals necessary for the sanctity of the agricultural landscape.... [S]crupulous in her documentation of detail ... [she] places the study in a global arena....”
    Vernon L. Scarborough
  • “...a theoretically informed, empirically rigorous, and socially relevant anthropology of water use that overcomes the limits of academic fashion.”
    Casey Walsh, Univ. of Calif. Santa Barbara, American Anthropologist, vol. 112, no. 2
  • “[Sylvia] Rodriguez fills an important gap in the historical and anthropological literature on agroecology and irrigation. Rodriguez's extensive ethnographic fieldwork, coupled with her experience growing up parciante [a member of the acequia community], gives the reader a unique glimpse into this cultural phenomenon that only the author could provide.”
    Henry F. Lyle, Southwestern American Literature Vol. 33, no. 1 (Fall 2007)

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