Mayordomo: Chronicle of an Acequia in Northern New Mexico

Stanley Crawford, Author University of New Mexico Press $17.95 (231p) ISBN 978-0-8263-0999-0
Acequias are community irrigation ditches that operate under a patchwork of state, federal and traditional Spanish water laws; the same term applies to the members' association. Each acequia is governed by a commission of three landowners ( parciantes ) who are assessed in work or money and who obtain water according to the size of their plots of land. The mayordomo is ditch manager and is paid a small salary during the irrigation season. Crawford records one year in the life of a small acequia (30 members) while he was mayordomo ; the season begins with work crews clearing the ditch in March. This is a low-key account of interdependence and cooperation in an isolated community, mainly Hispanic. The mayordomo is responsible for keeping the ditch clear of debris, making sure each parciante gets his share of water and rationing water in dry seasons. Both the setting and the hard manual labor reflect the past, recalling the earliest settlers who performed the same tasks. Crawford has written an elegant piece of Western Americana. Mayordomo won the 1988 Western States Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. (August)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
Paperback - 248 pages - 978-0-8263-1445-1
Paperback - 231 pages - 978-0-385-26254-5
Open Ebook - 248 pages - 978-0-8263-2591-4
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