IN OLIVIA ROMO’S “Bendición del Agua,” the poet fetches a ceremonial glass of water for her elder, then says a prayer of respect for both agua y abuelo. That poem (and rite) kicks off Water for the People: The Acequia Heritage of New Mexico in a Global Context (UNM Press), edited by Enrique R. Lamadrid and José A. Rivera. Featuring 25 essays from acequia activists, scholars, and community members, this anthology touches on acequia cultures in New Mexico, Spain, Mexico, South America, the Middle East, and South and Southeast Asia. The eclectic volume, stuffed with both oral and academic histories, reminds us that water is life.

Read more: In 1969, a newcomer began learning a lifetime of lessons from the acequia system.