The glossary of terms below are to help in case you
come across unfamiliar terminology in the website.
- Comisión: The
three-member elected commission of each acequia is responsible for
decisions concerning the maintenance and operation of the
Individual farm headgates divert water from the acequia to the fields
that are owned
by individual parciantes, or irrigators, who own water
rights along the acequia.
- Derecho: Each
parciante on the acequia has a derechoor water right attached to his or
The derecho may be measured both in terms of approximate
acreage and also in terms of time
or flow rate for purposes of water
allocation by the mayordomo.
- La Acequia: The
acequia has both a physical and a social definition. The word acequia
the water canal that carries irrigation water from the
stream to fields and refers to the irrigation
the way. The word acequia also refers to the community of families who
the acequia for irrigation. For example, one would say, “I belong
to the Acequia de La Puebla.”
- La Sierra: The
upper watershed and source of the snowmelt that creates the flow for
streams that are diverted into the acequias through a
diversion structure known as a presa.
The sierra, often under the
management of the US Forest Service, is also the location of livestock
mayordomo is the day-to-day caretaker of the acequia and the person who
manages the irrigation system. Acequias differ in their local customs
sharing water within
the acequia and between neighboring acequias.
Individual irrigators who own water rights are called parciantes. Each
a derecho or a water right that is attached to his or
- Presa: The
presa is a small impoundment, historically made of rock, brush and
logs, to divert
water from the river to the acequia madre, or the
mother ditch. Modern presas are usually
constructed of concrete.
- Regadío: Land
that is irrigated along the acequia is often referred to as regadío.
Irrigated lands of
the acequias support pasture, orchards, crops
Sacar la acequia:
Each spring, the mayordomo organizes a work crew of peones (or workers)
clean the acequia. Each parciante is required to participate in
the spring cleaning by
contributing peones in proportion to the
amount of derechos owned by each parciante. Currently Acequia de La
is cleaned by a hired crew and paid for by an assessment from