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National Cemetery Administration

Cemetery Components - Irrigation System

Function Picture of an irrigation drip in a flower bed 

Irrigation is required to keep the landscape and turf healthy and appropriate for a veterans shrine. Although rainfall may be adequate to sustain indigenous plants in a given year, the rainfall may cycle through extended droughts putting the plants under stressful conditions requiring irrigation. In the process of developing an irrigation solution, states should look to local universities for turf cultivars that are drought tolerant.

Components

Evaluate the project site location to determine whether an irrigation system is feasible and should be installed at the cemetery. The report should include a cost analysis of irrigation versus non-irrigation, on-site and off-site water supply sources including quality of available water, annual rainfall and the quantity of water needed to sustain healthy plants.

Irrigation systems consist of main and lateral lines, controls, valves and sensors and sprinkler heads. Wells and pump houses are also required. Some cemeteries have man-made structures such as tanks or ponds for water storage.

Design Requirements

If an irrigation system is recommended, design and specify an efficient irrigation system that is easily operated and maintained by cemetery staff. Irrigation lateral lines in burial sections should run parallel with the length of the gravesites. Xeric or low volume irrigation systems are recommended to minimize water usage. Please note that water supply approval varies state by state, based on conservation rules. This necessitates early water source planning.

In cemeteries using pre-placed crypts, considerations should be given to irrigation installation at the time of crypt placement.

Cost

Irrigation installation costs $22,000 per acre for an automated system.