Let the waters flow

Posted on May 6, 2017

After a pretty unsteady portrait group meeting this morning, I stopped over at Kit Carson Park for a bit of a water and nature festival. Fritz Hahn, Town of Taos council member, was celebrating the re-introduction of the acequia system into the park. Acequias are a community operated water system. The network of waterways weaves itself down from the mountains and distributes snow runoff to various communities. The traditional use of this precious resource is for irrigating fields. One of these waterways weaves itself through the back of the park. For years this waterway has been dry. Though small pedestrian bridges and culverts hint at the silent history.

For a while, it has been Fritz Hahn’s drive to maintain, respect and restore the traditions behind this shared community resource. Because most contemporary land use has been moving towards real estate and away from agriculture, the ditches occasionally spend more time dry than flowing. It is pretty common for a land developer to bulldoze, redirect or block these waterways. In many cases it is simply out of ignorance about the role they play in maintaining groundwater levels that support protective shade trees and the local wildlife.

Every April it is reassuring to see the teams out cleaning away the debris from the canals. They are making sure that the waterways are maintained and that the water flows efficiently through back yards and into the fields.

It has always been a dream to live in a house, under the cool shade of a giant cottonwood tree with an acequia running at the edge of the land.