Countries<Spain<Comunidad Valenciana<Carcaixent< Real Acequia de Carcaixent

Real Acequia de Carcaixent(Carcaixent)

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1.- A little history and the importance of the canal for the economic development of Carcaixent

The construction of the Royal Ditch building was completed in 1929 and not 27 as the façade indicates. It was built on the site of the old Ermita de la Sangre. It has different repertoires and decorative elements in the Modernist style, prevailing at the time of construction of the building, both inside and outside.

The Royal Canal of Carcaixent, was without a doubt the largest undertaking carried out by our ancestors in which, although it is true that the population was committed to the implausible, nevertheless, it rapidly increased the wealth of Carcaixent and prepared the prosperous economic situation enjoyed in past times. Without it, neither the mulberry plantations for silk production in the first place, nor the cultivation of oranges could have become the driving force of the local economy.
Not that Carcaixent lacked water. In 1301, part of the territory of Carcaixent was irrigated by two irrigation ditches. However, this water was not enough to meet the growing agricultural development during the first half of the 17th century and the continuous droughts of the time.

The Síndico Gaspar Canut entrusted the architect Andrea Rada with the first project of the dam and the possible layout of the riverbed of what would later become the Royal Canal of Carcaixent.
10 August 1653 - Carcaixent and Cogullada requested permission from King Felipe IV to drink water from Xúquer, opening a new irrigation channel and offering the amount of 1000 silver drachmas for this grace.
17th November 1654. His Majesty responds to the request and authorises the work, almost completely corroborating the 23 requests that became the basis of the Ordinances by which the Royal Canal is still governed. The people of Carcaixent could not find a better place than the one located under the Sumacàrcer mill, having to build a total of 15 kilometres of canal until reaching the end of Carcaixent.
To finance the work, the income and contributions of the Town Hall, which could be 5 or 10%, were not sufficient, so it was necessary to resort to censuses (mortgages). However, on different occasions the funds were insufficient, as the river was responsible for undoing in a few hours what had cost months to build.
In 1671, a new flood occurred. The work was quite advanced and close to completion, and the flood destroyed most of the work. The town council agreed to ask for new census, and with the consent of the viceroy, the whole town was mortgaged in order to obtain the necessary funds. In this document, it is stipulated that the entire town is mortgaged, men, women, old and young, those who are currently living and those who will live in the future, of any class, condition or state, religious or secular, with their houses, fields and animals. This document is kept in the social house of the canal, as is the royal concession.
After 25 years of hardship on 13th June 1679, and after having crossed the terms of different towns, water came to our area, being celebrated with a great mass of grace.
From that moment on, Carcaixent joined the small club of towns that had a water pipe to irrigate their districts, but with the peculiarity that the water that irrigates our lands has to travel more than 14 km to reach the town, crossing the municipalities of Sumacàrcer, Cotes, Alcàntera de Xúquer, Beneixida and Villanueva de Castellón.
Despite the difficulties, the canal has never stopped providing water to Carcaixent, even in times of prolonged drought.

2.- The organisation of the Acequia.
- Initially, the organisation of the Acequia is carried out by the juries (municipal representatives)
- 9 February 1841 The first Regulation is approved, consisting of 36 chapters, with Queen Elizabeth II and General Espartero as regent. Under the mandate of the Town Hall is Mauricio Bort.
The Town Hall has executive power, and can appoint the employees it considers, and authorise or deny new requests for irrigation of new lands.
The Board, with administrative functions, cleaning and maintenance of the ditch. It is made up of ten people: eight elected by the irrigators, among members who have at least 6 haegadas of land to be irrigated with the water from the canal, and two by the Town Hall. The post of President is held by the Mayor, who will only exercise his right to vote in the event of a tie. Members are renewed halfway through each year.
Employees of the irrigation canal: Secretary , Acequiero, Subacequiero, Depositary.
- In 1842 the Acequia became administratively independent from the town.
- 12th April 1844. The Provincial Council of Valencia approves the text of the first ordinances of the Royal Acequia of Carcaixent, almost identical to the current ones, giving the board more independence from the government of the municipality and improving various aspects of the first regulations of 1841. They were the first to be approved in the province of Valencia.
For the first time, the figure of the síndico appeared, a kind of head of the canal, independent from the mayor's office, who under the supervision of the mayor administered the canal.
- The President of the Acequia , has economic and judicial power.
- He is assisted by a Board of Advisors, which supports or censors depending on the circumstances, and among its members the trustee, acequiero, depositary and payer are appointed.
-Government Board. The irrigators elect from among their members the people who are going to form part of the administrative and governing board. The Governing Board comes into effect on the first working day of the year and appoints its members.
- • 1911. The Town Hall was invaded by a group of individuals who set fire to the building as part of the campaign against the war in Africa, affecting all parts of the building, including the boardroom of the Acequia, 2,000 pesetas disappeared and the existing documentation of the construction of the Acequia was burned. This is why there are certain gaps in its history.
- 1916 The legally constituted Board is dismissed by the Mayor, and they are replaced by trusted men from the Mayor's office.
- • 1925 . The relationship between the Town Hall and the Acequia is growing. The works that the Irrigation Community had done on the Town Hall building are exchanged for the site of the old Blood Hermitage. In 1929 the Social House is inaugurated, despite the fact that the façade says "1927".
- • 1933. The Civil Government of Valencia approves the new Ordinances, and the link with the Mayor disappears. The commemorative stone that presides over the Social House assembly hall dates from this year, and pays homage to the builders of the irrigation channel, being one of the largest non-funeral marble plaques in one piece that exists in our town.
- During the Civil War, it was the trade unions that ran the community, and it was not until 1940 that the farmers regained control.
- 1978, the Ordinances were renewed. It is worth noting the disappearance of the secretary as a contracted staff, and a member of the Board took on these functions free of charge, although in practice the functions were carried out by the President, so power was once again concentrated, with the sole exception that at that time the President was an irrigator.
- 2016, last ordinances. This year the Royal Acequia's ordinances are updated and modernised, adapting them to the current situation and new technologies.

The Carcaixent irrigation channel continues to be one of the most long-standing institutions in the city. At present the Governing Board of the Acequia is totally independent from the Town Hall and is elected by the irrigation community itself. As is still done in some irrigation communities, such as the Tribunal de las Aguas de Valencia, the Real Acequia de Carcaixent also settles disputes between irrigators in the old way by imposing small fines for the violation of the rights of the irrigators.

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Image of Real Acequia de Carcaixent