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Drought takes toll on cemeteries

Cemeteries deal with drought conditions
Tracy Lehr / KEYT

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The ongoing drought has taken a toll on the look of cemeteries.

The shades of the grass surrounding headstones depend on water supply and access to recycled water.

Most are only allowed to water for twenty minutes, twice a week.

Santa Barbara Cemetery visitors have noticed the grass getting brown since the governor called for more conservation in May.

When the cemetery cut back on water usage, workers said it was nothing new. They cut back during the last drought, too.

A recycled water study has yet to funnel more water to the site.

Vicki Halpern lost her husband, David, 21 months ago. She often visits his site at the cemetery.

"It's very depressing anyway, but I hate to see it turning so brown, the grass is so brown and a lot of families come and bring flowers. They bring their own watering cans and water which is what I do, sometimes I will water the grass around the headstone to try to keep that area a little bit green," said Halpern, "But yeah, it's very sad and I realize it's not the cemeteries fault that we're having a drought in our state, can't be helped but it's very sad."

Cemetery workers said visitors are not supposed to water the plots, but they have seen it happen from time to time.

The cemetery is in the Montecito Water District.

The Clark Estate, known as Bellasguardo next door, is also a browner shade of green. It is under the Santa Barbara Water District and gardeners are not wasting any water as they follow the state's conservation goals.

People driving along Cabrillo Boulevard can see the dry grass across from the Andree Clark Bird Refuge.

Both properties overlook the ocean where the marine layer helps a bit, but not enough to make much of a difference.

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor of News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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