Water shortageFor the longest time last year, it seemed the biggest news to affect car washes across the nation was severe drought. It was perhaps the biggest problem for car washes in California, where local governments put water bans into effect. Homeowners were no longer allowed to wash their cars in the driveway and were forbidden from watering their lawns on certain days. While that might have spurred business for car washes in any other situation, the bans often had an effect on businesses as well.

News of droughts and water bans in California slowed over the months following, but now we have stories from two different U.S. cities where the bans seem to be back in effect, plus a city in South Africa. We have stories from Charlotte, North Carolina; Cape Town, South Africa; and Birmingham, Alabama.

In Charlotte, the local paper is reporting that the city is looking into voluntary water restrictions. The rules would be put in place for all residents of the city in the hopes that they would volunteer to follow them for the good of all living there. This comes after reports for a nearby water basin predicted that the area was going to be abnormally dry in coming months. The ban includes rules such as topping off swimming pools only on certain days of the week and refraining from residential power washing. It also suggests that groups looking to raise money consider fundraisers other than car washes.

And in Birmingham, four nearby counties are looking at a possible stage four drought after 45 days without rain. Already, car wash owners there are worried about how it is affecting their businesses. Some utilities in the area are buying water from other counties, while car washes are adding surcharges in order to avoid laying off workers or shutting down early.

Plus in Cape Town, level three water restrictions are in place meaning homeowners can’t wash their own vehicles or water their flowers. Check out Cape Talk for more.