Why was CESOSS created?
CESOSS was founded by community members Jorge Garcia (Board President) and Santiago Maestas (Secretary) in 2011 as a result of ongoing challenges that were being faced in the Valle de Atrisco (South Valley) community specifically connected to acequia protection and revitalization. That specific work on the revitalization of the acequias in our community led to the realization that there was a great need for an organization that would focus not only on acequias, but on issues connected to land and water.
 Acequias, sometimes referred to as ‘ditches’ or ‘arroyos’ are community-based forms of sharing water; this is a system from the Moors that was introduced to the people of New Mexico by the Spanish when they arrived hundreds of years ago. The acequias continue until present day but the semi-urban acequias in the South Valley are facing great challenges stemming from over-development, encroachment, and long-term drought.
What does CESOSS focus on?
Our work focuses on advocacy and building local capacity through programs and initiatives focused on the intersections of land, water, and the preservation of local traditions within our community (e.g. small farming, irrigation, and acequias). We utilize education in its broadest form, as a tool for empowering and advocating for our communities. Since its foundation, CESOSS has greatly expanded its programs, projects, and initiatives – all of this with mostly volunteer-driven support from dedicated board members, the community, and students who have become involved with the organization.
CESOSS is guided by the fundamental belief that it is our responsibility as community members to engage in the protection and preservation of traditions connected to land and water. The Valle de Atrisco (South Valley) is a very special place. Despite the numerous challenges and threats it faces, it continues to be an agricultural hub. Why? Because the Valle de Atrisco sits 'upon the water' as its name implies. Atrisco comes from the word Atlixco, a Nahuatl word meaning 'upon the waters.' Those of us at CESOSS hold the firm belief that we must be stewards that work to continue the beautiful traditions.