The worst drought in most of our lifetimes has focused attention on how all Californians use, conserve and recycle water. Three years of historically dry winters - and no assurance that the next one will be any better - require each of us to examine how we can preserve this precious resource.
The governor already has asked everyone in the state to voluntarily reduce water usage by 20 percent. Many farmers will fallow hundreds of thousands of acres for lack of water. Parched cities are sure to tighten restrictions. Groundwater pumping is under increased scrutiny. There are environmental concerns about the health of many rivers and the Delta.
One thing is certain: We're all in this together. Saving water is a team sport.
For some of us in the car wash industry, the drought provides an opportunity to share a story that is just the opposite of what many people might assume.
Considering the importance of water in our business, Prime Shine was built around water-saving principles. We have been proactively saving water from the time we opened our first car wash in 1991. Saving water is part of our DNA.
We are one of hundreds of car wash operators across the country - and the only one in the Northern San Joaquin Valley -- who participate in the WaterSavers program of the International Carwash Association.
WaterSavers requires members to use less than 40 gallons of fresh water per wash and filter all runoff before discharge into the sewer system. At Prime Shine, we voluntarily hold ourselves to even tougher standards.
- We use about 30 gallons of fresh water per wash. By comparison, washing your vehicle in your driveway can use more than four times that amount, with the oil, grime and other harmful residue potentially polluting the public storm drain system which releases to our community's rivers.
-We recycle, filter and reuse almost all the water applied to each vehicle.
- We ensure the minimum amount of fresh water necessary for a high-quality wash is applied to each vehicle by using state-of-the art computer technology and precisely calibrated nozzles.
- We use only non-acidic, non-caustic, non-corrosive and biodegradable chemicals.
- We educate our employees on the importance of conservation and have implemented procedures to ensure maximum water savings in our everyday operations.
- We established a website www.savemoneysavetimesavewater.com to educate the public of our proactive water-saving measures.
From our beginning, Prime Shine was engineered to save water. We continue to research processes, invest in the technology, and then design and build our facilities to use the least amount of water possible - in dry years or wet ones.
We appreciate that many people driving past a car wash are sensitive to perceived waste. We want each person to understand that Prime Shine, as a WaterSaver facility, uses only a fraction of the fresh water it takes to wash a car at home.
Earth Day is Saturday. It is a timely reminder that we all have an important part to play during the drought - at home, at work and anywhere else water is used. Until there is plenty of water behind our dams and critical flows restored to our farms, cities and rivers, conservation is vital.
As California's largest privately owned car wash operator, Prime Shine is committed to being a leader in water conservation and savings within our industry and in our local business community. We truly believe that being a responsible corporate citizen is every bit as important as providing a high-quality service at a fair price.
We urge other businesses and individuals to evaluate their own water use and identify ways to save. We pledge to support efforts to educate the community about water conservation. We encourage everyone to share their own water-saving tips and suggestions - on social media, through this newspaper, with your friends and relatives.
Being a good steward of this precious resource is the right thing to do. Together, we can make a difference.
Porges can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.