Showing posts from August, 2020

Jicarita Peak: Source of Contested Waters

As we started hiking to Jicarita Peak , the 8th-highest mountain in New Mexico, we crossed this acequia (drainage ditch) that captures rainwater and snowmelt flowing down the slopes behind it from the summit of the Sangre de Cristo mountains (we're crossing it here at 10,500 feet). It moves this captured water sideways to the east, out if its natural path to the Rio Pueblo that flows west past the Picuris Pueblo River on its way to the Rio Grande River. Instead, these diverted waters are carried about four miles to the east, to the top of the Rio Pueblo watershed and beyond, where they are allowed to fall down the eastern slope of the mountains to irrigate farmers' fields in the Mora Valley below. The Mora River then flows east to the Mississippi River via the Canadian and Arkansas Rivers. This acequia was built between 1879 and 1882 by some of the earliest settlers in the Mora Valley. In 1882, residents of the Picuris Pueblo sued the settlers for diverting water – that had bee