Water

Historic Acequias energizes New Mexico with water

Water sources like the Rio Grande provide water for hundreds of farms in our state, but how do farms far from rivers and lakes get the water they need? Meet Don Bustos. His family has cultivated the land in Espanola for generations. “I remember Grandpa sweating when he was plowing,” Bustos said. “He would wipe the sweat from his brow, and at the same time, he would say, Ojalá (God bless)!” In a desert climate, snow-capped mountains, Don’s family farm survives their historic Acequia del Llano. Cloth Acequia is more than 7 miles long, more than 400 years old, and excavated by hand with wooden shovels and sticks, Storrs said. “Our Acequia is one of the only Acequia in New Mexico that flows north uphill. Most of it flows south. I’m standing on our land and I don’t even know if we can do that with Google GPS right now ,” Bustos said. Not just bringing water to Don and his family. Every Acequia has a “Barranco”, which is a gully of water. They also have these access doors that can be raised or lowered. Don is the supervisor of his Acequia, so he controls his entrance door and decides how much water is released further downstream. “Before there was the U.S. government, there were land laws and water laws,” Bustos said. Acequias like the Don have been a staple of New Mexican culture for over 400 years. You can find them anywhere. From Espanola to Albuquerque, there are approximately 700 Acequia in our state, each with an important use. “Acequia is the lifeblood of New Mexico. We are able to use solar energy and water from Acequias 12 months a year,” Bustos said. Acequia del Llano brings lifelong memories to Bustos and his family – from his elders to the next. “I have a grandson who is still in college,” Bustos said. “He said, ‘Grandpa waits until I graduate from college and I’ll come back and teach you how to actually farm!’ It’s not just a livelihood. It’s a passion. Que viva las Acequias!”

Water sources like the Rio Grande provide water for hundreds of farms in our state, but how do farms far from rivers and lakes get the water they need?

Meet Don Bustos. His family has cultivated the land in Espanola for generations.

“I remember grandpa sweating when he was plowing,” Bustos said. “He’ll wipe the sweat from his brow, and at the same time, he’ll say, Ojalá (God bless)!”

In the desert climate of the snow-capped mountains, Don’s family farm survives in its historic Acequia del Llano. Acequia is more than 7 miles long, more than 400 years old, and excavated by hand with wooden shovels and sticks, Bustos said.

“Our Acequia is one of the only Acequias in New Mexico that flow north, uphill. Most of them flow south. I’m standing on our land and I don’t even know if we can google GPS right now Do it,” Bustos said.

Acequia brings water from the Santa Cruz Reservoir all the way to his farm in Espanola, but it doesn’t just bring water to Don and his family. Every Acequia has a “Barranco”, which is a gully of water. They also have these access doors that can be raised or lowered.

Don is the supervisor of his Acequia, so he controls his entrance door and decides how much water is released further downstream.

“Before there was the U.S. government, there were land laws and water laws,” Bustos said.

Acequias like Don’s have been a staple of New Mexican culture for over 400 years. You can find them anywhere. From Espanola to Albuquerque, there are about 700 Acequias in our state, each with an essential purpose.

“Acequia is the lifeblood of New Mexico. We are able to grow food 12 months a year using solar energy and Acequias’ water supply,” Bustos said.

Acequia del Llano brings lifelong memories to Bustos and his family – from his elders to the next.

“I have a grandson who is still in college,” Bustos said. “He said, ‘Grandpa waits until I graduate from college and I’ll come back and teach you how to actually farm!’ It’s not just a livelihood. It’s a passion. Que viva las Acequias!”

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