A bit of History
The Romans contributed to these lands with the crops they knew, such as the cultivation of cereals, olive, or vine. Nevertheless, on account of the typical conditions of the environment, the crops were not productive enough. Still, the crops were useful in supplying the Roman armies and, later, for the campaigns of the Visigoths, who left the fields and the city.
The Valencian Horta was developed in the medieval times, during the Islamic period. An important fluvial infrastructure was created, mainly thanks to the construction of ditches and assuts (little dams that led the waters of the Turia River and the precipices that could drain marshy areas and bring down the watering to the fields). Likewise, different activities were boosted and developed near those infrastructures, such as the watermills, which profited the water flow of the ditches and the washbasins near the houses and farmsteads.
Thanks to those infrastructures, the city of Valencia, as well as its surrounding villages, was able to expand successfully.
The “Tribunal de las aguas”
The Tribunal de las Aguas de la Vega de Valencia, also known as the Tribunal de las Aguas, is an institution of Justice in charge of resolving conflicts arising from the use and exploitation of irrigation water between farmers of the Irrigation Communities of the ditches that they are part of it.
The last lawsuit for water found in Arabic dates from 1222; however, the Tribunal de las Aguas has continued to function, with multiple changes and evolutions, up to the present day. The Uruguayan journalist and writer Eduardo Galeano narrates: «The fairest court in the world is not made up of jurists. Which is also the oldest in Europe.
And it reminds us that “this justice does not come from above, nor from outside: the judges are the farmers who cultivate their own land, and between them they resolve disputes over the water from the eight ditches that irrigate the orchards of Valencia