The car wash industry has made great strides in reducing water use through the implementation of efficient technologies and practices. An efficient automatic car wash often uses less water per vehicle than one would consume by washing the same car at home. Water efficiency strategies are two-fold: (a) reduce overall water use wherever possible, often by on-site recycling; and (b) use non-potable water sources for make-up water where available.
While capturing, filtering and recycling the water used in the wash bays is common in newer facilities, there are different levels of efficiencies based on design and operational practices. Where alternate non-potable water sources of suitable quality are available, such as municipal reclaimed water, these water sources should be utilized to reduce the demand on potable water resources.
An additional area for water conservation is the towel and chamois washers used at many facilities offering wipe-down service after the car is washed and rinsed. The wash bin is often operated under continuous flow of water with an overflow drain allowing thousands of gallons of water to be wasted every day. All such washers should include a high level shutoff to stop water flow before water levels reach the overflow drain, or include a metered fill valve to shut off the water when unattended.