Managing irrigation: popular rules (Spain)
Since the beginning of time the use of water has always been regulated in all human communities through orally
Since the beginning of time the use of water has always been regulated in all human communities through orally transmitted rules. These rules were then written down in most of the villages of Spain, as is specified in Chapter 14 of the rules of Andiñuela, which governs “to do with water”, as well as other aspects of rural life for the preservation of biodiversity both vegetable (planting trees) and animal (veceras or communal pastures).
In small rural communities, people still take turns to open the canals which water their family plots on the days and times allotted. Furthermore, they still carry out tasks “to do with water” as laid down by the rules of each village, such as keeping dams, irrigation ditches and fountains clean.
In other places in Spain there were equivalent authorities for regulating irrigation, two of which have existed for more than a thousand years, the Tribunal de las Aguas de Valencia and the Consejo de Hombres Buenos de Murcia, and are Intangible Heritage of Humanity since son 2009.