Acequias that opened the gates of change for local indigenous people continue feeding San Antonio communities

A unique irrigation system introduced to the San Antonio region some 250 years ago transformed life for the native people and continues to be used today.

Spanish settlers introduced the European farming practice that changed the region’s way of life, economy, and topography.

The introduction of acequias was part of why the missions thrived, says Chantelle Ruidant-Hansen with San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.

The engineering and planning behind the missions ensured that the water in the acequias flowed into each mission to provide food and support the missions’ purpose.

“It followed the topography in the heights and levels of the land to kind of do this zig-zag pattern until you get to this mission,” Ruidant-Hansen said.

The acequias in the San Juan Mission are still in use.

“These farms that were feeding the first settled communities here in San Antonio 250 years ago are still feeding the people of San Antonio today,” Ruidant-Hansen said.


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