The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 389
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2oo3 Restoring the Oldest Water Right in Texas 389
Following the collapse of the metal floodgates, the San Juan Acequia
remained dry indefinitely, awaiting a final design solution. Meanwhile,
the long period of inactivity, as well as the protracted court battles of
the late 1950s and the early 196os, had weakened the solidarity of the
irrigators. In 1950 the acequia company had ceased to qualify as a legal
entity when its incorporation as the "San Juan Ditch Company"
expired. The company had been formed in 1900 for a period of fifty
years. In structuring the company's organization the irrigators had con-
veyed their water rights to the company, but in 1950 the shareholders
did not take the trouble to file a certificate of charter extension as
required by state law. From 1950 and until the trials commenced, the
irrigators simply continued the functions of the ditch company on an
informal basis, retaining their rights as owners in undivided interest. As
to management, they continued to maintain and administer the ace-
quia and to divide the water in much the same manner as before.58
After settling their lawsuits against the San Antonio River Authority,
the irrigators reorganized as a non-profit, water-supply corporation
rather than a business corporation or ditch company. According to
advice from their attorney, this new status would enable them to avoid
franchise taxes and other costs. The irrigators thereafter filed a certifi-
cate of incorporation with the Secretary of State in March 1967 under
the charter as San Juan Ditch Water Supply Corporation.59 The irrigators
also adopted bylaws to retain the practices of the former ditch company.
They transferred their individual interests in the ditch to the new corpo-
ration in exchange for shares equal to their proportionate ownership in
the former San Juan Ditch Company. As before, in accordance to cus-
tom and tradition, the irrigators holding the shares would elect a ditch
commissioner and other officers, and they participated in repairing,
cleaning and maintaining the ditch on a pro-rated basis.6o
The shareholders of the water-supply corporation continued to meet,
elect officers, and conduct other business into the late 1970s. By this
time, however, their acts were perfunctory, mainly to comply with their
Wars, La Mansion Hotel, San Antonio, Dec. 6, 1975, 13, on file (Institute for Texan Cultures,
San Antonio); Ohver, "San Juan Acequia Study," 7; J. Fred Buenz, "Facts Concerning a Seventy-
Acre Tract of Land Located Between South Presa Street and the Villemain Road," Jan. 21, 1981,
3-4, San Juan Acequia folder (SACSLA).
" Pat H. Gardner, attorney, to Mr. and Mrs. G. Garrett Lewis, et al., Mar. 8, 1967, San Juan
Acequia folder (SACSLA). Also see plaintiff's first amended original petition after severance in
Lews v. SARA, Dec. 29, 1964.
"'Pat H. Gardner to Mr. and Mrs. G. Garrett Lewis, et al., Mar. 8, 1967, San Juan Acequia fold-
60 Ibid. Also see Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, Certificate of Incorporation of San Juan
Ditch Water Supply Corporation, Charter no. 232464, Office of the Secretary of State, Mar. 24,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003, periodical, 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/m1/457/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.