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

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

“When you walk into a car wash and see all this water, you’re like Batman! Why are these guys using 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 relatively new to the Corpus Christi area.

Deimling said he is aware 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. “It’s 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 reused water per car wash.

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

During Phases 1 and 2 of the city’s 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,” Murphy said. “Which is, overall, it’s not a lot of water at all.”

Murphy said it’s actually best for people to wash their vehicles at a car wash.

“I was that guy washing his car in the driveway because I love doing it. But I didn’t realize I was spending between 70 and 120 gallons every time I washed my car,” Deimling said.

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

Their function is similar to that of car washes; they use recycled water.

“This is sewage that has been treated to Level 2,” Murphy said. “They go to a retention basin, then they use it to irrigate.”

Golf courses also have no restrictions during the drought.

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

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

Whataburger Field has restrictions and can only water the field on the assigned day. They follow the same guidelines as the residences.

Murphy said the field doesn’t have the same equipment that allows for the use of sewage.

“You need to have a specific pipe between your treatment plant and the facility,” Murphy said. “Most facilities still use what would be considered potable water.”

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Michael C. Ford