The Water Court (Tribunal de las Aguas)
Plaza de la Virgen, 46001 - Puerta de los Apóstoles
TOURISTIC AREA: Historical center
The Tribunal de Las Aguas meets outside the Door of the Apostles in the Plaza de la Virgen, every Thursday at midday, keeping alive a one thousand year old tradition. The proceedings are in the Valencian language and all decisions are final, not subject to appeal. The Water Tribunal is the only legislative structure established by Jaime I which still functions. The Arabs were already using an irrigation system, based on the distribution of the water from the River Turia and the monarch officially established this tribunal to control it. The tribunal is made up of eight farmers who still wear the typical black blouse of the Huerta (the irrigated fields around Valencia). The members are democratically elected every two years by the farmers who use the irrigation system in the Huerta. They sit in a circle on wood and leather 17th century chairs, and make their rulings. The structure of the irrigation system, the participation of the farmers, and the promptness with which the problems are resolved has made the Tribunal world famous and it has been used as a model for other institutions. Efficient and quintessentially Valencian, the Tribunal de las Aguas meets in front of an interested public which often includes young university students as well as tourists.