The Quest for Water in New Mexico
This study assembled historical data relating to water control and applied technology during Indian, Spanish, and Anglo-American periods in New Mexico. In addition, historic forces, such as law, social institutions, economic habits, irrigation practices, and transportation, affecting the development of water resources were laid out and evaluated, thereby giving a comparison of efforts and applications across the three major cultures making up New Mexico’s historical pattern.
The arid nature of New Mexico’s climate forced all of its inhabitants, Indian, Spaniard, and Anglo-American alike, into maximum technical efforts toward water control. The Indian and the Spaniard tended to utilize similar techniques, and generally lived in proximity to one another. They both practices subsistence agriculture. Both Indian and Spanish villages have, by-and-large, clung to methods centuries old and have not had the opportunity or desire to utilize new scientific and technological advances. On the other hand, the American settled in unoccupied areas, practiced commercial agriculture, and applied massive technology to water development. This heavy technical application in the major water courses resulted in important economic advances, but has also created serious problems which can only be solved by even more massive applications of technology. The history that unfolded told of a well-advanced technology backed by sound scientific principles, blended with a primitive simplicity mixed with superstitions, old wives’ tales, magic, and faith.
Project No. A-026-NMEX