Acequia Conservation Management

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1998: $49,272.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2002
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $61,138.24
Region: Western
State: New Mexico
Principal Investigator:
Stephen Reichert
Tierra y Montes Soil & Water Cons. District

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn, oats, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Fruits: apples, berries (strawberries)
  • Vegetables: peppers


  • Animal Production: feed/forage
  • Crop Production: continuous cropping, multiple cropping, contour farming
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer, mentoring, networking, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, technical assistance
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, value added
  • Soil Management: green manures
  • Sustainable Communities: partnerships, public participation, community services, sustainability measures


    Irrigation in San Miguel County is predominately accomplished by Acequia Systems. Acequias are historic irrigation ditches which are community oriented and traditionally Hispanic. This project will broaden efforts to introduce water management to traditional water users, a critical link to sustainable agriculture. Water management technology will help farmers manage soil moisture and fertility. In a semi-arid region prone to severe drought, this project will provide a variety of ways for acequias to improve irrigation efficiency and help sustain the economic viability of farm operations. On a statewide level, irrigation accounts for approximately 75% of surface water use in New Mexico.

    Project objectives:

    To introduce 140 acequia irrigators to water management concepts and technologies through the placement of seven demonstration projects in separate geographic areas of San Miguel County.

    To increase water management knowledge by providing bilingual educational materials to 640 irrigators at acequia meetings and other activities by the end of the second year.

    To increase knowledge of water management through the presentation of a bilingual video to local irrigators.

    Develop specific long- term water management implementation goals, follow up survey and discussion with 640 irrigators participating in educational programs by the end of the second year.

    Implement water management improvements with 32 landowners by enrolling them in the Interstate Stream Commission re-loan program by the end of the second year.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.