As California’s historic drought continues to drain the Golden State of its precious liquid commodity, cemeteries throughout the Southland are adopting and experimenting with alternate ways to preserve water while maintaining the aesthetics of their burial grounds.
Places such as the historic Savannah Memorial Park in Rosemead have reportedly taken a cutting-edge approach to water conservation and grounds maintenance, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. They have removed their grass and replaced it with free mulch provided by the city. Trees have also been donated to provide the park grounds with shade, which helps to retain moisture and reduce water usage by 60%.
This is something “no other cemetery in California is even attempting to do,” said Savannah board member Beverly Morton to the Daily News. “They usually let the grass die and the weeds take over.”
Cemeteries have long been hailed as sites where family members and friends can go to find solace in mourning, reflecting on the life of the departed, and paying respects amid the solitude and serenity such locales provide.
Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier has begun implementing plans which will result in the transition from fresh water to recycled water on their grounds by 2015, the Daily News notes.
But at places such as Evergreen Cemetery, the oldest in Los Angeles, the parched fourth year of drought and recent crackdown with stricter water-usage rules has left the grounds looking brown for several years. New developments are reportedly underway to provide Evergreen and the entire Eastside with their own recycled water pipe.
The drought has also prompted the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to launch a budgeting program to help cemeteries maintain their appearance to the public.
“In honor of everyone buried at the cemetery, and their loved ones, Iurge everyone to help revitalize this remarkable site in Boyle Heights,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina.
According to the LADWP, cemeteries — like all landscapes that are larger than three acres — are allowed to water their lawns on any day of theweek, so long as their valves do not open more than three times.
The LADWP is also offering alternative budgetary measures, similar to programs that have been created for customers such as golf courses, writes the News. These budgets are reportedly based on how much water is required to keep the grass green. The customer is then expected to achieve at least a 20% reduction from that given number.