Acequia Culture: Water, Land, and Community in the Southwest

By José A. Rivera | Go to book overview

FOUR
Water Democracies:
The Acequia Papers

The granting of corporate powers to acequia associations in the 1895 laws established the modern framework of legal-political governance. Acequia commissioners would have to be elected by and held accountable to the irrigators on a formal basis; but they would also enjoy broad legal powers usually reserved for political subdivisions of the territorial (and later, state) government. Subsequent laws, state Supreme Court cases, and attorneygeneral legal opinions in time would clarify and define these unique powers even more. 1 Concomitantly, the associations would be required to formalize their activities and document their actions. In 1903, for example, the legislative assembly explicitly required acequia officials to keep financial records, issue transaction reports to the membership, and document all proceedings in writing:

[The] mayordomo shall make full written reports of all moneys received, expended and how expended, and of all his doings as such officer, to the commissioners of said ditch.... The treasurer of said ditch commissioners shall make such reports to the ditch commissioners of the moneys received, expended and how expended, and kept in his custody as such treasurer and of all his doings as such officer.... The commissioners shall receive and pass upon the reports of the mayordomo and the treasurer herein provided for before their term of office expires, and if the same are found to be true and correct they shall approve them, otherwise they shall reject them, respectively. All proceedings of the commissioners relating to all subjects whatever shall be reduced to writing in a book or books kept for that purpose. 2

-77-

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Acequia Culture: Water, Land, and Community in the Southwest
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Documents vi
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xvii
  • Chapter One - Irrigation Communities on the Río Grande 1
  • Two Evolution of the Acequia Institution 25
  • Three Acequia Governance and Administration 49
  • Four Water Democracies: the Acequia Papers 77
  • Five Contemporary Status of Acequias: Development Vs. Sustainability 147
  • Six the Future of the Acequia Institution: State Policies and Acequia Action Strategies 187
  • Notes 205
  • Acequia Glossary 227
  • Selected Readings 233
  • Index 237
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