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The Biggest Cemetery in the US Was Using Enough Drinking Water to Serve Several Cities

Rose Hills Memorial Park takes up 700 acres in the hills of Whittier. It's the biggest cemetery in the US and contains one of the oldest mausoleums in the state. And watering all that grass and keeping it bright and green takes a ton of water. In fact, says the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, upkeep once "required 293 million gallons of potable water a year, as much used in several cities." But, now the cemetery's finally making sure that all that water will at least be the recycled kind and not the drinkable kind. There is a drought on, after all.

Right now, only 60 percent of Rose Hills is using recycled water for grounds maintenance. But this past Wednesday, the cemeterybroke ground on the final piece of its reclaimed water puzzle, which, when it's complete by the end of the year, will have 100 percent of the memorial park watered with recycled water. By switching to all reclaimed water, the cemetery is "saving enough drinking water for 2,000 to 3,000 homes." And it'll be paid for in part by grants from the Metropolitan Water District.

This most recent project is the culmination of a 23-year process to switch the cemetery from drinking water to the recycled stuff; it was only made possible, though, by recent, drought-prompted changes in state law that made it legal to use existing pipes and facilities to pump in reclaimed water (instead of having to lay new pipe and plumbing). The $1-million project will cover about 30 percent of the cemetery's total grounds—an area that's inside the original, 101-year-old cemetery and contains the oldest mausoleum in California.
· Rose Hills cemetery — largest in nation — will use 100 percent recycled water [SGVT]
· New CA Houses Might Only Be Allowed a Small Patch of Lawn [Curbed LA]