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Taos is New Mexico True
Taos, NM
Water flowing through an acequia

“Water Is Life” is more than a slogan, especially in summer aqui en Taos. Water unites our community, and with this in mind, Paseo Project has partnered with the LOR Foundation, and a few arts organizations and individuals, to highlight the importance of water and its impact on the culture, spirituality, agriculture, economics, and even the survival of Taos.

Created in collaboration with the Acequia Madre del Pueblo and the Taos Valley Acequia Association, the booklet Acequia Aqui: The History and Exploration of the Acequia Madre del Rio Pueblo creatively serves to illustrate this vital community asset.

An acequia is a traditional community-operated water course, probably Arabic or Moorish in origin, used for irrigation in Spain and the former Spanish colonies in the Americas. Acequias are engineered canals designed to carry snow runoff or river water to distant fields. Such ditches in Taos date back hundreds of years and continue to be used today to irrigate fields and orchards.

Paseo Project’s Vision

If you’re wondering why an art nonprofit like Paseo Project has chosen to publish Acequia Aqui, the answer is that the folks at Paseo Project have a long-range vision to transform our community by celebrating its history through art events and installations.

Executive Director Matt Thomas hopes that the information gleaned from Acequia Aqui, which maps the old acequia systems that thread through the historic district of Taos, will be used to provide strategies to create ongoing community dialog about creative solutions for their preservation and ultimately transform the acequia system with permanent informational art installations and infrastructural enhancements.

“We are recreating zoomed in maps of old (but still recognizable) runs of acequias downtown, “ Matt says of Acequia Aqui. “We want people to know when they are in town, where this network is.”

The downtown acequia network is relevant to both Taos history and our life here today. Water is, at this time on this fragile planet, our most precious resource. Here in Taos, it has long been treated as such, and the value of the Acequia Aqui project, both academically and in practical terms, is immense.

As Matt explains, “We hope this booklet will educate both locals and visitors and contribute to the support of an historic and culturally important public infrastructure.”