acequia--acequias were important forms of irrigation in the development of agriculture in the American Southwest. The proliferation of cotton, pecans and green chile as major agricultual staples owe their progress to the acequia system.
An acequia is a community operated waterway used in the American Southwest for irrigation. Acequias are usually historically engineered canals that carry snow runoff or river water to distant fields.
The word "acequia" comes from the arabic language and means irrigation system. The Arabs brought the technology to Spain during their occupation of the Iberian peninsula. The technology has since been adopted by the Spanish and utilized throughout their conquered lands.
Most acequias were established more than 200 years ago, and continue to provide a primary source of water for farming and ranching ventures in areas of the United States once occupied by Spain or Mexico. Some acequias are conveyed through pipes or aqueducts, some of modern fabrication and some decades or centuries old.
Known among water users simply as the Acequia, various legal entities embody the community associations, or acequia associations, that govern members' water usage, depending on local precedents. An acequia organization often includes ditch riders and a major domo who administers usage of water from a ditch, regulating which water-rights holders can release water to their fields on what days.
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