Harnessing the water of the semi-arid San Antonio region, Spanish friars turned to irrigation techniques invented by the ancient Romans.
The dam diverted water in irrigation channels, many that are still in operation, and fed fields around the missions. This is referred to the Espada Dam, even though it is closer to Mission San Juan.
Harnessing, for better or for worse, to the present day is the modern dam.
Further south, the Espada Aqueduct brought irrigation channels across the river. I always find aqueducts ironic: they take water over the top of other water bodies for humans’ benefit.
The National Park Service, as owner of much of the land, owns the original water rights from the Eighteenth Century, which it shares with other shareholders, some of whom have inherited it from their ancestors in the 1700s.
I love this rustic arch, made with rubble construction.
Read more about it below: