Water Shortages and Low Volume Pressure for Mobile Car Washing in Drought Situations
Back in the late 80s and early 90s my company had set up operations doing mobile car washing in Carpentaria, Montecito, Santa Barbara, and Goleta California. There was a terrible situation, as the area was in full drought. The lake which supplies water to those cities was nearly empty, and they considered it a Level III Drought. That means that car washes were allotted only a certain amount of water, and when they hit that limit, they could have no more water for the month, otherwise they had to pay triple the price, and it would double after that if they continued to go beyond their limit. Towards the end of that drought, the cities had been talking about completely shutting down all car washes.
One of our biggest fixed site car wash competitors had to close down at the 20th of each month after running out of water. This is because so many of the citizens went to the car wash because they too were under a water ration rule, and people were not allowed to wash their car in their driveway, and couldn’t even water their lawn, and their shrubbery only two times per week.
People’s lawns were turning brown, and some innovative entrepreneur came along and he was using vegetable oil to turn the grass green again, because everyone’s grass had died in front of their house, due to lack of water. Anyone who had a green grass was obviously using water or watering in the middle the night which was against the law, and the water police would come by. If they didn’t have receipts showing that they paid someone to spray vegetable oil to change the color back green, they would have to pay that hefty fine.
How did our mobile car wash survive you wonder? Well we brought water from the County next-door, and because we had to transport it in plastic tanks, we had to use it sparingly. Therefore we ran our pressure washers at 1.8 gallons per minute, at 900 to 1000 PSI. We got pretty good at it, and we could actually wash a car with only 1 minute spraying time. This meant that we could rinse a car for 20 seconds, and then soap the car, and then rinse it again for 40 seconds and then dry it.
It is possible for a mobile car washing company to do this, even under Level III Drought in the United States. In many countries people use a steam wash system, or even dry wash products. The reality is we can do it using a pressure washer with about the same amount of water, if you consider the washing of the dirty rags from the dry wash process, and in the end we will have used about the same amount of water, and not more than twice as much as a steam wash system. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.