The Acequia Madre in Santa Fe
The Mother Ditch
The Acéquia Madre, or mother ditch, was originally dug by hand some 400 years ago. A system of gates were used to regulate how much water from the Santa Fe River went to irrigate orchard trees and other field-grown crops such as fruits and vegetables. It has been in operation since before the Pilgrims parked the ship at Plymouth Rock.
Today, it is still in use and runs along the street named in its honor. The ditch is both primitive, composed of dirt or gravel, and has sections carefully preserved in stone and concrete. The ditch is cleaned once a year by parciantes (members) and volunteers. Tons of debris is collected and many odd things have been found such as parking meters and even a hot tub.
The most recent parciante is the Railyard Park, an area recently revitalized in the historic neighborhood. This is where the Farmer’s Market is held and you can catch the RailRunner train here to Albuquerque. There are about 40 parciantes who regulate the gates that allow the water to flow. The Mother Ditch is still responsible for 18 verdant acres of land.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties, Acéquia Madre is recognized as one of the three oldest irrigation ditches in the States. It continues to bring life-giving water to the City Different on the high desert of New Mexico.
— G G Collins
Posted on September 10, 2013, in On Location in Santa Fe, Uncategorized and tagged Acequia Madre, Acequias, American Southwest, G G Collins, History, Irrigation, Mother Ditch, New Mexico, Reluctant Medium, Santa Fe, Santa Fe River, water ditch. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.