Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
Many Albuquerque acequias have supported regional farming for more than 300 years.
Local water and government groups will kick off the Atrisco Acequia Madre project Saturday with an event for the community to learn about urban irrigation canals and share ideas for improving the area’s outdoor amenities.
The initiative includes plans for an outdoor educational site near Central Avenue on the west side of the Rio Grande.
Barbara Baca, an at-large board member for the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, said the project is about creating a “place to celebrate our acequia culture.”
“It might be outdoor interpretive signs, definitely trail connections,” Baca said. “There’s ideas of adding connections to the Open Space, to neighborhoods, while respecting the natural landscape that is there.”
The event will be held at the headwaters of the Atrisco Acequia. The main canal and its offshoot deliver water to South Valley farms. The project area crosses riverside city and irrigation district property.
“Dealing with climate change, we have to get smarter and smarter about the way we use our water,” Baca said. “This is a great opportunity to educate the community about our water resources, along with kids and school groups, who are the next stewards of our land and water.”
Bernalillo County, the MRGCD, the city of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority have each committed $25,000 to the project planning.
The state Legislature also appropriated $65,000 in capital outlay funds earlier this year for planning, design and construction.
Residents can share ideas for the project at Saturday’s event. A survey is also available on the project website, www.acequiamadreplan.org.
The government groups, which are working with the South Valley Regional Association of Acequias, the Center for Social Sustainable Systems and the West Central Alliance of Neighbors, will finalize a conceptual site plan in February.