August 2, 2012 - Carwashes are among the biggest retail users of water. And unlike restaurants or schools or homes, the water used in carwashes is meant to get dirty. So does it make sense to wash a dirt-encrusted Jeep with drinking water?
That’s the premise behind my Assembly Bill 2230. It would require that 60% of the water in new carwashes come from recycled sources.
I’m not saying AB 2230 is utopian, but it does start from a question, of how we would design our water laws in 2012 (as opposed to 1912), given the current state of affairs. We live in a time where everyone has changed habits so as to conserve our state’s precious resources.
And water-recycling technology has advanced to such a point that there is little difference between the water it produces and the water that comes from a tap. Carwashes, by their very nature, can play an important role too. They can use the same water again and again. Filtration technology can remove the dirt and detergents and turn it into water that is just fine for rinsing or washing a car.
The idea for this bill came from my father, Joe Gatto, a Silver Lake resident, who was on the forefront of things like organic farming and conservation, years before the modern environmental movement. He taught me to never take more than I needed, and to do everything possible to conserve resources for everyone. But at his core, my father is a pragmatist, who likes common-sense solutions that appeal to even the most skeptical.
I believe the inarguable logic and pragmatism behind this bill is why it has received such strong, bipartisan support in both the Assembly and Senate.
Assuming the bill continues to proceed and is signed by the Governor, it will save enough water in its first year to meet the needs of all of tens of thousands of households. Think of that: by this simple step, we can conserve water equivalent to what Los Feliz and Silver Lake use in an entire year. And that water coming out of the tap will continue to be available for drinking or growing vegetables, especially when carwashes can easily and cheaply use the recycled variety.
Read this article and more at the Los Feliz Ledger by clicking HERE
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Mike Gatto is the Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore of the California State Assembly. He represents Los Feliz, Silver Lake, and portions of Atwater Village along with the cities of Burbank and Glendale and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Toluca Lake, Valley Glen, North Hollywood, and Van Nuys. He has served in the Assembly since June 2010. His web site is asm.ca.gov/gatto or e-mail Mike at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call him at (818) 558-3043.