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How can golf courses and car washes use so much water during a drought?

GO Car Wash
Posted at 9:34 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-01 23:35:00-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Car washes and golf courses are a couple of places you might think use a lot of water. What rules do they follow during the drought?

“When you come into a car wash and you’re seeing all this water, you’re like holy batman! Why do these guys get to use all this water and I can’t even water my lawn?” said Ron Deimling, vice president of customer experience and marketing for GO Car Wash.

GO Car Wash is fairly new to the Corpus Christi area.

Deimling said they are conscious of how people perceive car washes. This is why they are a company that uses reclaimed water

“It goes into a tank for lack of a better term," Deimling said. "Gets filtered out all the sediment and then we reuse that water for the bottom half of your car.”

Deimling said the process allows the car wash to use 60 to 70 percent of reused water per car wash.

Michael Murphy, chief operating officer for Corpus Christi Water Utilities, said a majority of car washes in the city use a recycled water process.

During the city's stage one and two drought plan, there are no restrictions for car washes.

“Depending on the facility itself, they use anywhere from 500 gallons per day to 2,000 gallons per day," said Murphy. "Which is, in the big picture, that’s not much water at all.”

Murphy said it's actually preferred that people wash their vehicles at a car wash.

“I used to be that guy who used to wash his car in the driveway because I love to do it. But I didn’t realize that I was spending between 70 to 120 gallons every time I washed my car,” Deimling said.

The City of Corpus Christi owns two public golf courses: Lozano Golf Center and Oso Beach Golf Course.

They're similar in function to car washes; they use recycled water.

“It is wastewater that has been treated to stage 2 level," Murphy said. "It goes into a holding pond and then they use it to irrigate.”

Golf courses also don’t have restrictions during the drought.

“It’s reclaimed water not drinking water and it’s a mutual benefit because it’s water that we need to discharge and basically get rid of," said Murphy. "Either we put it in the bay or they take it for irrigation. And the best use for that, especially in a drought situation, is for irrigation.”

Another city-owned property is Whataburger Field, but they're in a different boat.

Whataburger Field does have restrictions and can only water the field on the assigned day. They follow the same guidelines residences are given.

Murphy said the field doesn't have the same amenity that allows wastewater to be used.

"You have to have a specific pipe from your sewage treatment plant to the facility," said Murphy. "Most facilities still use what would be considered potable water."

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