iAgua es vida! Water has been the central force in the culture and heritage of northern New Mexico for hundreds of years and this precious resource is more important than ever before.
Between San Cristobal and the Colorado border there are 13 separate acequia groups, each managed by their own governing bodies. A proposal is being explored to create a non-profit area-wide acequia association that all of these groups from northern Taos County could be a part of. This collective organization will support and strengthen the operations and initiatives of the individual groups while working together to protect and preserve water and water rights in our area.
An open meeting , hosted by the Questa Economic Development Fund, will will be held in person, and via Zoom, Tuesday, May 2, 5:30 p.m., at the Questa Village Town Hall to discuss this idea, field questions, and determine next steps.
During the meeting, an overview of the proposed area-acequia association will be presented, discussing the benefits and purpose of forming the organization (see box below). Judy Torres, Director of the Taos Valley Acequia Association (https://www.taosacequias.org/), will also be in attendance to share how their association is structured, describe what they do, and explain the benefits realized by their members.
Chevron has pledged $160 thousand over the next three years to support this effort. Support to get the area-acequia association organized and established in partnership with the Questa Economic Development Fund and the ditch groups in the area.
The new association up for consideration would enable each group to maintain their autonomy while providing all groups with broader support, additional resources, and a unified voice. Involvement in the acequia association is voluntary. The group will be run in a 501(c)(3) structure and the first installment funding will be administered by the QEDF, who will play a key role in helping to set up the non-profit.
For more information and to receive the Zoom link for the meeting, contact Lynn Skall at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at (575) 586-2149.
Benefits & Purpose of an Area-Wide Acequia Association:
- Protect and preserve local water rights, ownership, acequia culture, and health of the land.
- Mitigate water issues due to changes in land use, development, and climate change that may adversely impact water quality, quantity, and rights.
- Monitor water legislation and policy changes impacting local small-scale farmers, ranchers, and acequias.
- Advocate to local, state, and federal governments, using the collective power of the association to speak with one voice.
- Timely communication on regulation/compliance changes, workshops, meetings, events, etc.
- Engage area youth with mentorships, service-learning projects, leadership development; impart the importance of continuing the acequia legacy for generations to come.
- Provide administrative support around transferring and banking water rights, completing/filing documents with the state, etc.
- Apply for grants for technical assistance, purchase of equipment, construction projects, training, etc.
- Share resources, such as association-owned equipment, supplies, on-site consultants, etc.
- Improve individual association governance practices through education/training on fiscal management, project planning, acequia mapping, bylaws, state compliance, etc.
- Job creation with the hiring of a coordinator to oversee operations, create/implement programs and training, write grants and newsletters, hire consultants, keep up to date on regulations, etc.
Proposed Area-Wide Acequia Association
Open meeting in person & via Zoom
Tuesday, May 2, 5:30pm
Questa Village Town Hall,Pizza will be provided
For more information & Zoom link:
Lynn Skall, Director, QEDF
email@example.com • (575) 586-2149
Editor’s Note: Lynn Skall is the Director of the Questa Economic Development Fund