(Wikimedia Commons)

(Wikimedia Commons)

The common theme throughout the droughts in California and elsewhere in the country has been how to cut back on water usage. Car washes especially have become innovative over the months as they balance business with meeting new water restrictions.

Yet some officials at the heart of the hardest-hit portions of the country have been thwarting their own rules.
Los Angeles County employees were getting as many as three car washes a week while others in the area were being asked to cut back. Once the usage was discovered, the county imposed a limit. Now those driving a county vehicle can only have it washed once a week, SFGate.com reports.

When they learned of the abuse, readers across the country wrote in to express their outrage.

“I can’t believe that my family is working so hard to cut back on water usage, while Mark Ridley-Thomas, Michael Antonovich and Don Knabe act like we have unlimited water,” a Hawthorne resident wrote. “We turn off the water in the shower while altering up, keep a bucket there to capture the cold water while it is warming up and use it to water the plants.”

At Los Angeles City Hall, the Bureau of Sanitation and the Police Department have both reduced their washing, a spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Garcetti told the Daily News. Garcetti called for city agencies to consider converting washes to recirculated water. About a third of the city’s carwashes reuse water.

None of the county facilities use recirculated water. The typical conveyor carwash consumes 80 to 100 gallons of water, according to Eric Wulf, CEO of the International Carwash Association.