Historically, there has been a thriving agricultural community in and around Las Vegas, based on the acequias — which can be understood as both physical structures to deliver water and communities of people with a proud tradition.
In the 1950s, the New Mexico Supreme Court gave the City of Las Vegas the right to take as much water as it needed from the Gallinas River under the so-called Pueblo Water Rights Doctrine. Using this decision, the city gradually increased the amount of water it diverted from the river until it was sometimes taking all the water available.
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