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California drought and waterless carwashes

March 17, 2014
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SAN JOSE, Calif. — Frank Dorsa, owner of Classic Car Wash, used to advertise about how much water his wash used, and can't believe how much times have changed, according to the San Jose Mercury.           

“The more soap, more horsepower, more water, more everything you got blasted at your car, the more you got your money’s worth,” said Dorsa. “Ecology wasn’t invented yet.”

When he first heard of water conservation, he thought the idea was crazy. Now, the drought in California has made it a reality for everyone.

The carwash industry has had many advances since the 1960s, and is a small portion of the daily water supplied used in the United States. “An estimated one-tenth of 1 percent of the 350 billion gallons of fresh water used daily by Americans,” according to the article.

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This is thanks largely to things like tunnel washes reusing up to 85 percent of water runoff.

Eco Green Auto Clean opened last year, and its goal is to use as little water as possible. “My mission is to save a lot of water,” said Dinesh Gauba, a co-owner of the wash. “In the U.S., we’re using 100 billion gallons of water a year just on carwashing.”

The types of sprays Eco Green uses are effective because they “essentially surround dirt molecules, break them down through a process of emulsification, then lift the whole mess from the car’s painted surface before it’s wiped away with a microfiber towel,” according to the article.

Read also: PC&D March issue

These types of washes may be the future, but they have not been completely endorsed, according to Marty Grimes, the spokesman for Santa Clara Valley Water District. “While we support the innovative ideas to use water more efficiently, we have seen that the consumer feedback on these products is a mixed bag,” he said in a statement. “We continue to recommend people go to commercial carwashes, which are required to recirculate their water.”

The lack of knowledge about their product, made Eco Green open a demonstration showroom. “No one’s ever heard of it. It’s like somebody telling you they can have a shower with no water,” said Gauba. “It’s a mind-blowing concept. Once people see it, there’s a mental shift that occurs.”

Eco Green plans on opening four more locations this year.   

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