Paula Garcia gives a history of a centuries-old water sharing system, the reparto . The title comes from the governance model used in New Mexico to mediate water rights and water allocation. The “acequia world view” includes an ethic as well as a decision-making system. The ethic is handed down from Arabic, Spanish, and Native American desert cultures who perceive water as a divine gift, and its decision-making system is guided by a principle of equity. The third essential point of acequias is that water belongs to a place. In deep contrast to this is our modern Western worldview of water as a marketable commodity. The latter view is becoming more and more the mode of water management, and is principled upon increasing supply for those with the most economic resources. Places like the Southwest where urban and industrial growth meet limited water supplies become the testing grounds for future policies, sane or insane.
Thus, a question for all our futures: if we can assume that water is a precious resource, sacred (or not), how do we share it in a democratic way (or not)?
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