Mayordomo Responsibilities

Consistent among all acequias is the key role of the mayordomo. Mayordomos historically have been the keepers of tradition and knowledge about their stream source and their community. Through respect, diplomacy, and a careful measure of authority, skilled mayordomos have kept acequias flowing and fields irrigated for generations.

The mayordomo plays an esteemed role in the acequia and has traditionally been a highly revered community member. He or she displays a distinguished knowledge of their acequia and its surrounding community. The mayordomo is the “ditch boss” who works to ensure equitable water distribution, and makes him/herself available to address issues that come up throughout the growing season, as well as observing the activities of the surrounding environment during the off-season, such as snowpack, beaver dams, ditch repair and cleaning, etc.

From the watershed that nurtures the course of the stream that eventually reaches the acequia diversion, to the last parcel of land irrigated by the acequia, it’s often the mayordomo’s mental map of his or her acequia’s intricacies that surpass the community knowledge of most others on the acequia. which becomes even more challenging during drought. Additionally, given the increase in demand for water, our Acequias de La Puebla community has had to adapt to minor changes in the way water is allocated during shortages, making the duties of the mayordomo even more challenging.

In 2008, the New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) partnered with the University of New Mexico to establish the Mayordomo Project. Through this effort, the NMAA has established a mentorship program that fosters the transmission of local knowledge to the next generation of mayordomos. NMAA has developed educational materials including "The Art of Mayordomía,"a short film. The Art of Mayordomia can be viewed in the clip below. Note: Your browser needs flash to view the video. If you have trouble try clicking this link,

The Art of Mayordomia