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Water for the People: The Acequia Heritage of New Mexico in a Global Context

July 3 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Free – $25.00


Enrique R. Lamadrid

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Spanish

University of New Mexico


José A. Rivera, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Community and Regional Planning

University of New Mexico


This will be an extended video presentation.


The talk will speak to topics drawn from their 2023 edited book Water for the People which features twenty-five essays by world-renowned acequia scholars and community members that highlight acequia culture, use, and history in New Mexico, northern Mexico, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Spain, the Middle East, Nepal, and the Philippines, situating New Mexico’s acequia heritage and its inherent sustainable design within a global framework. The lush landscapes of the upper Río Grande watershed created by acequias dating from as far back as the late sixteenth century continue to irrigate their communities today despite threats of prolonged drought, urbanization, private water markets, extreme water scarcity, and climate change. Water for the People celebrates acequia practices and traditions worldwide and shows how these ancient irrigation systems continue to provide arid regions with a model for water governance, sustainable food systems, and community traditions that reaffirm a deep cultural and spiritual relationship with the land year after year.

Enrique Lamadrid is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Spanish, who taught literature, culture, and folklore at UNM. He organized a series of ethnographic field schools and several featured Acequia Culture in New Mexico and Chihuahua. He was regional curator for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s “El Río” program on bio-regionalism and traditional culture along the Río Grande / Río Bravo. Lamadrid edits the Querencias Series of UNM Press, named after a popular Spanish term used to express love of place and people. He published the late Estevan Arellano’s 2014 monograph, Enduring Acequias: Wisdom of the Land, Knowledge of the Water, and collaborated with him on a celebrated children’s book, Juan the Bear and the Water of Life: La Acequia de Juan del Oso on the history and legends of the Mora valley acequias. His next. Lamadrid is on a team preparing a UNESCO nomination of our acequia traditions for world Intangible Cultural Heritage designation. An acequia activist, Enrique is a Comisionado of the Alamos de los Gallegos Acequia in Albuquerque’s north valley.

José A. Rivera holds degrees in English Literature from New Mexico Highlands University and the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. in Social Policy from Brandeis University (1972). He spent his academic career at the University of New Mexico teaching courses in public administration, water resources, and community and regional planning. In the area of research, he has published articles on community acequias of the Río Grande and mutual aid societies of the southwest. His books include Acequia Culture-Water, Land and Community in the Southwest (University of New Mexico Press 1998), La Sociedad-Guardians of Hispanic Culture Along the Rio Grande, (University of New Mexico Press 2010), The Zanjeras of Ilocos-Cooperative Irrigation Societies in the Philippines (Ateneo de Manila University Press 2020) and a co-edited anthology with Enrique R. Lamadrid, Water for the People: The Acequia Heritage of New Mexico in a Global Context (University of New Mexico Press 2023).

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July 3
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Free – $25.00
Event Category:


NM United States


Friends of History
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