Thesis Title

The Status and Sustainability of Acequias on the Lower Rio Chama River, New Mexico

Date of Graduation

Fall 1993


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Barbara Becker

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences


Acequia communities throughout northern New Mexico are threatened by the loss of water rights and land to both urban and exurban development. Planning techniques are utilized to ascertain the status of acequias on the lower Rio Chama River, New Mexico, with the data applied to developing a model plan for the sustainable development of the Abiquiu area. A comparison of water rights and land use data reveals that the acequias on the lower Rio Chama River have not been significantly affected by the loss of land and water. This research utilizes comprehensive planning techniques to develop a model plan that can sustain acequia communities while still allowing growth and development in the region. The model plan, enforced through traditional zoning, regulation and ordinance, recommends the following planning objectives to sustain acequia communities: 1) preserve the unique cultural, historical and natural character of the village; 2) keep the land in agriculture; and 3) protect the water rights.


© Christopher Hawkins