Local cemeteries promise to use less water

Four Jewish cemeteries in Colma and one in Contra Costa County have developed a plan of action that exceeds Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent order mandating a 25 percent reduction in water use, Samuel Salkin and James Carlson announced in a joint press release last week.

Salkin is the executive director of Sinai Memorial Chapel Chevra Kadisha, Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma and Gan Shalom in Briones. Carlson is the executive director of Hills of Eternity, Home of Peace and Salem Memorial Park in Colma.

The press release noted that those cemeteries do not draw on the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite; rather, “our irrigation systems use nonpotable water drawn from our own wells within the respective cemetery boundaries.

“Nonetheless, our Jewish values inspire us to act in community. Our five cemeteries have collaborated in a plan which we believe will actually reduce our water consumption by 30 percent.

“The plan does have repercussions, which we want to communicate to the community. Perhaps the most obvious one will be the green condition of the cemetery grounds itself. Watering less will create a different visual appearance to your loved ones’ graves. Although we have no intention of allowing the grounds to deteriorate to unkempt bramble, the customary lush look of our cemeteries will not be possible for the foreseeable future.”