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The MuralThe 360 Degree View

Flowing Water

Introduction of the irrigation system in this area by Franciscan Priest making it possible to establish settlements.

Much of the El Paso area was semiarid when the Spanish were attempting to colonize the area, and so it was necessary to create an irrigation system. The building of acequias, or irrigation canals, was important for their agricultural efforts. Acequias had been widely used in Spain since the time of the Moorish conquest, and the early Spanish colonists brought with them the knowledge of how to build them.

The earliest acequias were dug near Ysleta, below El Paso, after 1680 by Pueblo Indians under the supervision of Spanish friars. These first acequias eventually became part of a large irrigation network, portions of which were still in use in the early 1990s.

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critical thinking
Water conservation has always been an important part of life in the El Paso area. Why? What are some of the things we can do to conserve water today?

Related Links:

The Texas Handbook Online

History, from El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1

The city of Phoenix Water Services Department, Water Conservation Office

Read More, Learn More:

Bolton, Herbert Eugene. 1915. Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century: Studies in Spanish Colonial History and Administration. Berkeley: University of California Press,; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970.

Glick, Thomas F. 1972. The Old World Background of the Irrigation System of San Antonio. El Paso: Texas Western Press.

Meyer, Michael C. 1983. Water in the Hispanic Southwest: A Social and Legal History, 1550-1850. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.