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On August 11, 1598, the first Spanish-inspired irrigation ditch, or acequia, was dug near present-day San Juan Pueblo in northern New Mexico. The workers were 1,500 Pueblo people, and the overseers were the Spanish conquistadores in Don Juan de Onate's expedition. Basing their design on Pueblo practices and those of their own agricultural tradition, the Spanish settlers built acequia systems in every new settlement. By the late 1800s there were hundreds of acequias in the area.

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