Acequias are community centered networks of irrigation ditches. Generally used in dryland, steppe ecologies, the systems utilize the hydrology of mountain ‘water towers’ and directs the flow across the hill sides to grow food and fodder. This method broadens the alluvial plain as a rare form of agriculture that actually benefits the ecology while feeding humans and raising livestock. Because it maintains water in the commons, it is an important antithesis to increasing threats of water privatization. Acequias are promoted as a time tested way to mitigate the desertification component in climate change.

This project traces the origins of the practice, follows the migration of the methods, connects the communities who maintain them in order to offer potential ways we can utilize the philosophy in navigating a changing world.

Public Fountain in Chefchaouen, The Blue Pearl perched high in the Rif mountains of Northeastern Morocco

Origins: The Rif

2022 Residency at Green Olive Arts, Tetouan Morocco

During this residency, we learned how sacred this practice is for Moroccans in regards to tending the natural world instead of seeing it as our dominion from which to simply extract resources. We are inspired by the community minded nature of sharing water is for farmers here, delighted at the familiarity of the philosophy surrounding Acequias. Somehow, over a thousand years and an ocean between, the primary intentions of Acequias has remained in-tact.

Urban Acequia: A walk along the Oued Martil

Zarka: A walk up the Blue River Valley

Printmaking at Green Olive Arts

Talassemtane National Park: A walk around the Rif Mountains

Chefchaouen: The Blue Pearl

The Fountains of Fez


2023 residency at AADK in Blanca, Spain


The Distillery

Los Lovatos ditch community: 300 years of history

Garden Watercolor by Lee Lee, Haiku by Peter T Leonard
A year in grandpa’s garden follows the development of an Acequia fed permaculture garden at the Distillery in Taos