Mission San Francisco de la Espada appears as remote today as it did in the mid 1700s. It boasts the best preserved segments of the historic acequias (the irrigation system designed to provide water for crops), part of which includes the still working Espada Dam and Aqueduct. The Espada Aqueduct, which carries water from the San Antonio River across Piedras Creek, continues to feed the original mission irrigation system. Espada Dam, built between 1731 and 1740, is the best existing example of the four Franciscan-designed dams and is still in use today. Combined, these structures represent perhaps the best surviving physical assembly of an 18th century Spanish irrigation network in the United States.
San Antonio's historic missions are an official UNESCO World Heritage site.