Here’s a look at the history of the Baca Ditch in Las Animas County, from Nancy Ellis writing for The Trinidad Times Independent. From the article:
“[Felipe de Jesus Baca] settled on the north side of the river”, Sanchez continues, “which was then known as Rio de Las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio. Dirt and rock were loaded into large pieces of rawhide and hauled to a dump site by mule or oxen. On sloping ground, contents were dumped on the downhill side to build up the embankment. After a large section of the ditch had been dug, its engineering was tested by channeling water into the ditch through a dam and inlet works positioned at a point on the river.”
“Logs, rocks and brush were used to construct a dam to contain the water spilling into the main headgate at the inlet, and a wooden headgate at the inlet regulated the water flowing into the acequia. Over time, silt sealed the ditch and the ground absorbed less water,” Sanchez writes.