"ABIQUIU, N.M. — At the edge of a sandstone outcropping, Teresa Leger Fernández looks out on the Rio Chama. The river tracks a diverse landscape from the southern edge of the Rocky Mountains through rugged basalt hillsides, layers of volcanic tuff, and the red and yellow cliffs made famous by painter Georgia O’Keeffe.
Here marks the genesis of New Mexico’s centuries-old tradition of sharing water through irrigation systems known as acequias.
It’s also one of the many spots in the arid West facing more pressure as drought stretches into another decade and climate change piles on with warmer temperatures.
Once an acequia commissioner and now a U.S. congresswoman, Leger Fernández knows how hard it is to tell farmers they won’t get all the water they need — or maybe none at all."