Where is San Luis, Colorado?
- 1861-76: Colorado Territorial Legislature recognized acequia institutions and law. Attempts have been made to remove this law so that commercialization of water use could be established. April 2009: HB 09-1233 -Colorado Acequia Recognition Law signed by Gov. Ritter.
- The allotment of water (repartimiento) on the acequia is managed by a mayordomo (ditch rider or ditch boss) elected on the basis of one irrigator/one vote.
- The acequia system produces significant economic-base services and cultural ecological benefits
Redefining Water Rights
HB 1233-09. The Colorado statute declares that acequia institutions are among the oldest forms of local self-governance in the Western U.S. and that community ditches represent a much older alternative of law to the doctrine of prior appropriation. It declares and that acequia customary norms emphasize equity and fairness and not just priority in the allocation of water rights.
The law also established that acequias and their farming communities are worthy of protection and preservation.
Devon Peña, Professor in Anthropology, Founder of The Acequia Institute
"The Acequia Institute" founded by Devon Peña in 2006 is located within the traditional hunting and foraging territories of the Caputa Ute homeland. Prof. Peña has spent over 30 years in the San Luis Valley, bring students, researchers, and activists to discover this area of significant historical value in traditional farming, culture, preservation practices and activism.
Why San José State University?
- An opportunity to develop the archives of the King Library’s Cultural Heritage Center within the areas of environmental issues and community action.
- An opportunity to focus on a region of historical importance to Chicana and Chicano Studies, the Indo-Hispano culture area of the Upper Rio Grande.
- Build a pedagogical arm on sustainability and communities for the undergraduate and graduate curriculum.
- Inform ways of addressing water management issues in California.