New Mexico Acequias return to these pages to take their place of honor in a Global Heritage of traditional communities, which have made the arid zones of our planet bloom. If you encounter a verdant landscape in New Mexico, chances are you have entered an Acequia Landscape, which is “culturally green” since water is so scarce. International activists, scholars and irrigators have joined us again to celebrate the spirit of Enduring Acequias: Wisdom of the Land, Knowledge of the Water as the late Juan Estévan Arellano so aptly captured it in the title of his last book. We dedicate this issue to his legacy of tireless advocacy and creativity, the qualities it takes to defend the resources of Acequia Culture from the challenges of climate change and rampant development.
Last September, a sizeable New Mexico contingent traveled to Valencia, Spain to witness an unprecedented event, the Hermanamiento or Ceremony of Brotherhood, to symbolically reunite us with the taproot of acequia traditions. For resounding successes over 25 years in grassroots organizing, state legislation and favorable judicial rulings, the New Mexico Acequia Association was awarded the Medal of Honor of the Tribunal de las Aguas de Valencia, the oldest water court in the world, in continuous operation since the 10th century.
We visited acequia heritage sites across southern Spain before the symposium at the Universitat Politécnica de Valéncia (papers at http://tglick-irrigation-2014.org/en/publication/papers/). We add our own road stories to the observations of colleagues on New Mexico Acequias as Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
– Armando Lamadrid and Enrique Lamadrid, Guest Editors