National Register of Historic Places in Santa Fe County
One of the most important considerations in determining Hispanic settlement patterns in the 17th and 18th century New Mexico was the availability of water. In an arid region with meagre rainfall, natural water supplies such as springs, ponds and streams which could be diverted into irrigation systems were used to convert plots of unimproved countryside into farm lands.
Combining techniques brought from Spain and Mexico with the indigenous practices of the Pueblo Indians, the settlers of New Mexico were able to increase yields of wheat, corn, beans and other crops necessary for their survival. The acequia system which serves El Rancho de las Golondrinas and the adjoining village of La Ciénega is an excellent example of this early technology.
Although the ditches have been modernized somewhat in recent years, they still water the same small fields planted with traditional crops which have sustained the community for over 200 years.
Source: Adapted from the NRHP nomination submitted in 1980.