The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003 Page: 390
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
bylaws. Participation in the business of the ditch had declined over the
years due to the inconsistent supply of water in the San Juan Acequia.
Attempts to continue pumping water were sporadic and often were
unsuccessful due to worsening deterioration of the ditch infrastructure.
As the old ditch no longer conveyed water along its customary route,
shade trees and shrubs along the acequia had dried up, as had old
pecan trees in the orchards.61
The acequia was virtually abandoned after the new dam and floodgates
collapsed in 1977. River water could not enter the headgate and move
through the system successfully until means could be found to devise a
more effective way of delivering water to the headgate. Meanwhile, some
of the old timers stopped farming altogether, moved on, or in some cases
died. Minutes of meetings from 1977 and 1978 indicate that the irriga-
tors did little more than elect officers and a board of directors.62
Waning participation and the irrigators' inability to farm on a prof-
itable basis left the San Antonio River Authority virtually alone in devel-
oping a viable course of action. The landowners were told that studies
and plans would be devised soon and that remedial work would begin
later in 1978. Meanwhile, the SARA's management made diesel-pow-
ered pumps available to the irrigators should they desire to use them.63
When the studies were completed, the SARA concluded that much more
than short-term remedies would be required. Designing another dam
was important but not the only necessary task. The intractable problem
of moving water to the old acequia headgate uphill about two hundred
feet east of the river channel remained as the irrigators continued to
press for a gravity flow of water. It was also apparent that the acequia
watercourse itself was badly in need of extensive restoration, especially at
the site of major diversions caused by runoff from Asylum Creek and Sin
Nombre Creek, which crossed the acequia.64
Finally, in 1990, the Bexar County Commissioners' Court contracted
with the SARA to use flood control revenues for the repair of the two
creeks. Both projects would take several years to complete. The SARA
proceeded to investigate efficient alternatives that would deliver river
water to the San Juan Acequia headgate while retaining the integrity of
flood control measures of the relocated channel. In the end a unique
design emerged that all parties could accept. A smaller dam would be
61 Buenz, "Facts Concerning a Seventy-Acre Tract," 3-4.
62 Minutes, Board of Directors Meeting of the San Juan Ditch Water Supply Corporation, Dec.
o10, 1977, and Nov. 26, 1978, San Juan Acequia folder (SACSLA).
68 Buenz, "Facts Concerning a Seventy-Acre Tract," 4.
"4 Dean Bayer, San Antonio River Authority, to Jose A. Rivera, San Antonio, Apr. 29, 1999,
conversation; notes in author's possession.
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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/m1/458/: accessed September 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.