Acequia

Acequia

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An acequia or séquia (ˈsekia) is a community-operated waterway
Waterway
A waterway is any navigable body of water. Waterways can include rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, and canals. In order for a waterway to be navigable, it must meet several criteria:...

 used in Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 and former Spanish colonies in the Americas
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

 for irrigation
Irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

. Particularly in Spain, the Andes
Andes
The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. This range is about long, about to wide , and of an average height of about .Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated...

, northern Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, and the modern-day American Southwest, acequias are usually historically engineered canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

s that carry snow runoff or river water to distant fields.

The Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 word acequia (and Valencian
Valencian
Valencian is the traditional and official name of the Catalan language in the Valencian Community. There are dialectical differences from standard Catalan, and under the Valencian Statute of Autonomy, the Acadèmia Valenciana de la Llengua has been established as its regulator...

 séquia) comes from Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic
Classical Arabic , also known as Qur'anic or Koranic Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language used in literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times . It is based on the Medieval dialects of Arab tribes...

 "as-sāqiya", which means "the water conduit". The Arabs brought the technology to Spain during their occupation
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

 of the Iberian peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

. The technology was adopted by the Spanish and utilized throughout their conquered lands, except in e.g. Mendoza, Argentina
Mendoza, Argentina
Mendoza is the capital city of Mendoza Province, in Argentina. It is located in the northern-central part of the province, in a region of foothills and high plains, on the eastern side of the Andes. As of the , Mendoza's population was 110,993...

 where acequias today run along both sides of all city streets but originally were dug all around by the indigenous Huarpes
Huarpe people
The Huarpes or Warpes were indigenous inhabitants of Cuyo, in Argentina. Some scholars assume that in the Huarpe language, this word means "sandy ground," but according Arte y Vocabulario de la lengua general del Reino de Chile, written by Andrés Fabres in Lima in 1765, the word Cuyo comes from...

 long before the arrival of the Spanish.

Most acequias were established more than 200 years ago; many continue to provide a primary source of water for farming and ranching ventures in areas of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 once occupied by Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 or Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

.

Acequias are gravity chutes, similar in concept to flume
Flume
A flume is an open artificial water channel, in the form of a gravity chute, that leads water from a diversion dam or weir completely aside a natural flow. Often, the flume is an elevated box structure that follows the natural contours of the land. These have been extensively used in hydraulic...

s. Some acequias are conveyed through pipes or aqueduct
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

s, of modern fabrication or decades or centuries old (see transvasement). The majority, however, are simple open ditches with dirt banks. In many communities, the ditchbanks are important routes for non-motorized travel.

Known among water users simply as the Acequia, various legal entities embody the community associations, or acequia associations, that govern members' water usage, depending on local precedents and traditions. An acequia organization often must include commissioners and a majordomo who administers usage of water from a ditch, regulating which holders of water rights can release water to their fields on which days. In New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

, by state statute, acequias as registered bodies must have three commissioners and a majordomo. Irrigation and conservation districts typically have their own version of majordomos, usually referred to as "ditch riders" by members of the districts.

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