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Southeast faces drought, ICA responds with targeted campaign

Nov 23, 2016

As of this week, more than 60% of the combined areas of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia are in some stage of drought – affecting more than 20 million people. Click here to view the U.S. Drought Monitor for the Southeast.

State and local authorities have already begun implementing water saving measures, such as eliminating lawn watering. Water saving (and pollution prevention) campaigns can be well suited to benefit the professional car wash industry – but every operator should be taking steps to best protect their business.

The best way to defend your car wash business from these types of campaigns is to tell your story with accurate information. We’re here to help. Please consider the following:

  1. Emphasize your car wash's water conservation attributes. A garden hose can use more than 60 gallons in as little as 5 minutes and home washing machines can use 45 gallons per load. Compare these statistics to your car wash's use of fresh water. 
     
  2. Emphasize your car wash's pollution prevention attributes. Research has shown that even a medium sized town can generate hundreds of pounds of dangerous pollution by allowing car washing to be done at home or on pavement. 
     
  3. Let your customers and local water authorities know that safety is one of the key reasons for keeping your car clean. 
     
  4. Familiarize yourself with ICA's model drought response plan. This plan takes into account the fact that, based on research, professional car washes typically use well less than one percent of the water used in a municipality. 
     
  5. If you are a member of WaterSavers®, be sure to be using the signage and messages of the program - our industry's unified and most effective voice on the environmental benefits of professional car washing. WaterSavers members are also included in our online directory of environmentally responsible car wash locations. 
     
  6. If you are located in North Carolina or Georgia, consider having your car wash certified as water saving to protect against restrictions. Thanks to the excellent efforts of the North Carolina Professional Carwash Association and the Georgia Coalition of Car Washes for their work in having these programs adopted.

In drought situations, it is understandable that there is a public interest in reducing water demand. But, it's not acceptable to target one particular type of business. In the case of professional car washing, it's also illogical given the above facts – and a potential threat to businesses and jobs.

This week, ICA is launching a targeted campaign to bring this information to consumers and water regulators. This is in addition to the nearly half a million dollars ICA has invested in public relations and advocacy efforts. As part of that effort, please share the contact information for your local water regulators so that we can be sure to include them in our outreach. You can send that information directly to Claire Moore at cmoore@carwash.org

As always, we welcome your input and suggestions. Let’s work together to protect professional car washing, while also doing our part to protect the environment.


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