Potholes: A cemetery in the desert

This cemetery, on the “banks” of the All-American Canal overlooking Bard on the California-Arizona desert, has no grass:

Potholes Cemetery, near Bard, California, April 2015

Potholes Cemetery, near Bard, California, April 2015

Immediately behind me as I stood to take this picture last week was the All-American Canal, an artificial river built in the 1930s to carry Colorado River water to the Imperial Valley. A lot of water. The original cemetery, dating to the 1800s, was located a few hundred feet to the north. When they built the canal, they dug up and re-interred the remains of 151 early settlers.

I was thinking of Potholes when I read this story this morning about cemeteries in the California drought:

Cemeteries across Inland Southern California are bracing for the effect of Gov. Jerry Brown’s sweeping order to curb water use 25 percent from 2013 levels, in the wake of a drought of unprecedented severity.

At Potholes, there’s 3 million acre feet of water flowing by annually, but they decided long ago not to water a cemetery in the desert. Just one more data point about our attitudes toward water an arid land.

One Comment

  1. I love graveyards. Back at the Independent when it was still on the City Road you could eat lunch sitting on Blake’s grave. Thanks for posting.

    Ah, the Southern California funeral industry … it will be a great shame when the sprinklers are turned off if they don’t continue to water trees, which do better with the dead than the average So Cal homeowner. If only they would tip us in the ground without the formaldehyde, varnish, brass and silk, and we could do the ground some good.

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