Authors: Mireille Tian*, New Mexico State University, Jamie Aguirre, New Mexico State University, Michaela Buenemann, New Mexico State University, Eric Magrane, New Mexico State University
Topics: Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Environment, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: acequias, socio-ecological systems, U.S. Southwest
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: Download
Acequias create a sense of place and are vital features for many communities in the U.S. Southwest. However, they are under threat due to growing urban water needs, climate change, and other human and environmental dynamics. Addressing the challenges faced by acequia communities requires a more comprehensive understanding of these socio-ecological complexities than currently exists. The purpose of this research was to move toward developing such an understanding and to identify directions for future research. Specifically, we wanted to determine how acequias are defined and understood, how scholarly interest in acequias has changed over time, where this interest is concentrated, in which contexts acequias are studied, and who is driving acequia research. To do so, we conducted a meta-analysis of all peer-reviewed journal articles, books, and book chapters that appeared when searching "acequia" and "acequias" in the PRIMO database. For each of these publications, we recorded the title, publication year, study location, keywords, journal name, and primary author's information. Our analysis of these data suggest that acequias are of increasing interest, with most studies conducted in certain parts of the U.S. Southwest and Spain. Acequias are tied to diverse issues (demographics, identity, politics, culture, economics, land use, water resources, climate, etc.) and, not surprisingly, are studied by members from various disciplinary backgrounds. More interdisciplinary research and efforts aimed at improving the mapping of acequias may help develop a more comprehensive understanding of the complex socio-ecological dynamics surrounding acequias in the future.