Traditional System of Corongo’s Water Judges become Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

T he Traditional System of Corongo’s Water Judges (Sistema de Jueces de Agua de Corongo) is inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Water Judges contain an organisational structure created by the inhabitants of Corongo, a city in the department of Ancash. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) unanimously approved this fair system of water distribution earlier today.

The origins of this system go back to the pre-Inca period and its main objective was to achieve an equitable and sustainable supply of water, as well as an adequate management of the land, so that future generations could continue to enjoy these two essential natural resources in good condition. The meaning, importance, functions and values of the system are transmitted to new generations within families and public institutions, and also in the teaching centres of all levels of education by learning the emblematic dances of Corongo. The distribution is given under the principles of justice and equity; water being a vital element that integrates the social, cultural and religious aspects of Corongo.

The decision was taken by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, in the framework of its 12th meeting held in Jeju, Republic of Korea. A Peruvian delegation was present at the International Convention Centre (ICC Jeju), Republic of Korea, including the investigator of the Direction of Intangible Heritage of the Ministry of Culture, Miguel Ángel Hernández; the promoter of the Declaration and citizen of Corongo, Jorge Trevejo; and the Water Judges of Corongo, Fernando Díaz and José Moreno. Previously, in December 2013, the Traditional System of Water Judges of Corongo was declared as Cultural Patrimony of Peru.

Apart from the Water Judges, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, inscribed 12 new elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity such as the Sega Tambour of Rodrigues Island (Mauritius), the craft of the miller operating windmills and watermills (Netherlands), the artisanal processes and plant fibers techniques for talcos, crinejas and pintas weaving of the pinta’o hat (Panama), the traditional folk dance Kolo of Serbia, the Multipart Singing of Horehronie in Slovakia, Basel Carnival in Switzerland, the Kushtdepdi rite of singing and dancing in Turkmenistan,  the art of Bài Chòi in Central Viet Nam and the Khaen music of the Lao people.

Interestingly, at the moment of publishing this article, water company EPS Chavín cut of the tap water in Huaraz without notice.

Author: Juan Villanueva Rojo
Photo: Ministerio de Cultura Perú

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