The New Straits Times, an English language newspaper in Malaysia, reported that the car wash industry was mushrooming and jeopardizing local water resources.
The rise of the middle class in Malaysia has led to an increase in car sales and sprouting car wash businesses eager to serve Malaysians’ purchasing power needs. Dr. W.J. Lau of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, writing for the Times, however, says that to avoid repercussions and drought, municipal monitoring of car wash-dense areas is needed.
“Many of us will remember the water crisis that hit a number of states in the first half of this year, with Selangor being the hardest hit due to its dense population and rapid development. Although the present water crisis has not yet hit us hard and the peninsula is starting to receive normal rainfall distributions, proactive measures are needed to minimise water usage due to the mushrooming of car wash centres.”
The Times reports that 150 to 600 litres of potable water are used per car depending on the type of car wash center while thousands of cars frequent car washes in Malaysia each day.
Lau proposes setting a cap on the number of licenses issued by the city council to car wash businesses in the city and restricting business operating hours to six hours per day as done during times of drought. He also advocates for measures involving training of car wash employees on water conservation and imposing a new water tariff on the businesses.