The Oakhill Cemetery maintenance crew is doing all they can to keep the grounds of the Oakhurst landmark looking presentable, while adhering to mandated state-wide water restrictions.
Robert Ellis, Oakhill Cemetery foreman, said the cemetery district is following the April 1 state guidelines established by Gov. Jerry Brown’s executive order to reduce the use of water in the state by 25%.
“We are following the rules recommended to us by the Hillview Water Co., watering just two days a week,” Ellis said.
The two-days a week of watering is not enough to keep the cemetery lawn 100% green, and much of the lawn is slowly turning brown due to the lack of water.
“We have not heard many complaints,” Ellis said. “I think people are more aware of the drought situation and realize there are serious restrictions to water use throughout the state.”
“As Madera Cemetery District strives to meet these mandates we are constantly in the process of saving our trees and landscape,” said Belva Bare, district manager. “The California drought has affected us all. We have gone from families being upset with dry spots on loved ones gravesites to a very understanding public. As Endowment Care Cemeteries there is a California Code of Regulations that states ‘Each cemetery shall perform, at minimum, the following maintenance on its cemetery property ... provide a sufficient supply of water to keep cemetery grass and plants as green as seasonable possible in accordance with natural terrain, availability of water, and local or county ordinances regarding water use.’”
Bare says the district has reduced its water use to more than 30% and will continue to monitor and learn additional ways to reduce water.
In addition to Oakhill, the Madera Cemetery District governs four other cemeteries in the county - two in Madera, one in North Fork, and one in Raymond.
Here are some household water-saving ideas:
* Routinely check any water-using devices to ensure they are working properly and efficiently.
* Always fix faucets and other fixtures as soon as you become aware of a leak.
* Take showers instead of baths and save up to 40 gallons of water per shower.
* Don’t let the faucet run while brushing your teeth or shaving.
* Cooking food in as little water as possible not only saves water, but also keeps most of the nutrients in the food.
* Consider buying mugs you keep in the freezer rather than using ice to cool soft drinks, lemonade, or other beverages.
* Don’t run your washing machine when you don’t have a full load to wash.
* Don’t pre-rinse dishes unless it’s necessary – most newer dishwashers will thoroughly clean your dishes without needing pre-rinsing under normal circumstances.
* Use “gray” water from activities like washing dishes (unless you use harsh detergents) and showering to water plants.
* Thaw food out in advance or use the microwave if needed on short-notice – don’t thaw out food by running water over it.
* When buying plants, consult with your suppliers. Native plants grow more easily and require less water and maintenance.
* Water your lawn during the early morning hours only – this is when less evaporation occurs.