South San Francisco, CA June 15, 2015 Submitted by Holy Cross Cemetery
Earlier this month, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order requiring significant reduction in water usage in response to ongoing drought conditions. In the order, the Governor specifically included institutional properties such as cemeteries. At the seven Catholic Cemeteries in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, water usage has been evaluated and certain conservation measures have already been put in place. Several of our cemeteries are using reclaimed or non-potable well water; others are not irrigated at all.
Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma is blessed to be situated above a deep aquifer and maintains its irrigation through the use of well water. Because the cemetery uses non-potable water, it is not covered by the recent Executive Order. Nonetheless, we believe that stewardship is an essential part of the ministry of our cemeteries and will continue to look for ways to reduce water usage and increase conservation. Last year, recognizing the ongoing drought status in California, Holy Cross in Colma
reduced its watering schedule from daily watering, resulting in a cutback in irrigation of approximately 30%. Additional conservation measures include replacing and updating sprinkler heads and nozzles and increasing tree planting to provide more shade cover and preserve moisture in the lawn areas. Holy Cross has begun a Memorial Tree program which allows members of the public to donate funds for tree planting; a memorial stone is placed by the tree which can honor a loved one.
Visiting the cemetery is an important part of our Catholic tradition. At the Catholic Cemeteries, we strive to maintain a serene and beautiful environment that provides comfort and consolation to the thousands of visitors who come to the cemeteries to pray for loved ones. We will continue to work toward maintaining a balance between appearance and stewardship and we pray for God’s generous response to our state’s drought crisis.