Cemeteries Adhere to Drought Water Restrictions

Governor Brown’s Executive Order in April calling for a mandatory a 25 percent cut in potable water use through February 2016 means belt-tightening not only for residents and municipalities, but for commercial and industrial properties as well.

That directive includes California’s cemeteries.

The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau (Bureau) wants to alert consumers that their local cemetery may not look as green and lush as it normally does because of the dire nature of California’s drought status. The Bureau’s latest brochure, “Cemetery Maintenance During Drought,” offers information to consumers on what they can expect from the Bureau and from cemeteries and to cemeteries on how to maintain their grounds and inform consumers about their drought-related practices. You can access the brochure online at http://www.cfb.ca.gov/consumer/drought.pdfPages from 15_244_CemFun_Drought_R1

Not all cemeteries are affected by the Governor’s Executive Order. Those that use recycled or reclaimed water are not restricted. Cemeteries with a self-sufficient water supply, such as a well, are required to reduce water use by 25 percent or limit outdoor irrigation with potable water to no more than two days per week. Cemeteries that receive their water from another source (an urban water supplier or a water utility regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission) must comply with efficiency measures implemented by their water provider.

Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations section 2333 (b)(3) states that cemeteries shall “provide a sufficient supply of water to keep cemetery grass and plants as green as seasonably possible in accordance with natural terrain, availability of water, and local or county ordinances regarding water use.”

The Bureau will continue to monitor cemeteries for compliance with State regulations, considering the watering restrictions applicable to the cemetery. The Bureau is dedicated to working with individual cemeteries based on any applicable watering restrictions for their property.

Consumers should keep in mind that the State does not license cemeteries operated by religious organizations; cities, counties, or cemetery districts; the military; Native American tribal organizations; or other groups. If you don’t know who regulates the cemetery you visit, ask the manager of the property.

For more information, visit the Cemetery and Funeral Bureau website or call the Bureau at (916) 574-7870.

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