Rose Hills cemetery to use entirely recycled water

WHITTIER, Calif. (KABC) -- Rose Hills Memorial Park and Mortuary in Whittier spans more than 1400 acres, and claims to be the largest cemetery in North America. But keeping Rose Hills green takes water, a lot of water.

Fortunately, the cemetery has spent the last 23 years figuring out ways to use reclaimed water on its vast lawns.

Rose Hills Memorial Park announced Wednesday that all water used to water its grass and run through decorative fountains will be recycled by the end of the year.

The cemetery used to use 293 million gallons of potable water a year. Officials say the switch should save enough drinking water for 2,000 to 3,000 homes.

"About two thirds of the acreage is irrigated with recycled water and when this is done at the end of the year, it will be 100 percent," said Bruce Lazenby, executive director of business development at Rose Hills.

Officials say the recycling effort began with an agreement with the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts to bring waste water treated up in a separate delivery system.

"The timing is great, not just because of this drought, but we know there will be future droughts in California, so this system will be available for all those future droughts as well," said Ann Heil of the Sanitation Districts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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