The City of Lethbridge is still urging residents to limit their water usage as much as possible to avoid having to issue a boil water advisory.
But with the spring-like temperatures over the weekend, many people took the opportunity to wash their vehicles.
As a result, many people also took to social media to voice their concerns.
“That’s what the city is trying to prevent by asking us to conserve water,” T.J. Doyle Darin Janzen posted on Facebook. “Pictures like this just kind of make me wonder why I should bother waiting to do the laundry or the dishes to help the city out, if others won’t.”
Some of the carwashes Global News spoke with said they were unaware of the issue.
Others said unless they are told to shut down, they have no plans on doing so.
“If we were given permission to, I would just shut down the wash completely, just to keep as much water preserved as possible,”Co-op supervisor Danielle West said. “I don’t want to see another boil ban.”
Others, including Mint Smartwash, point to the fact they already use recycled water.
“We have a proprietary recycling system that recycles up to 80 per cent of water that we use here at the facility,” general manager Taylor Nelson said.
Still, Nelson says they’re asking customers to avoid washing their vehicles for now.
“We do have on our billboard asking our customers, ‘If your cars are not dirty, don’t wash your car,'” Nelson said. “We do have a membership program here so it’s hard for us to just shut our doors.”
Carwashes aren’t the only business relying on water for operation and officials say at this point, no restrictions are being enforced.
“We’re not going to impose restrictions just because that’s a visible business where the diaper service, or the laundromat or the food processor is using as much or more water,” said Doug Kaupp, general manager of water, wastewater and stormwater with the City of Lethbridge.
But Kaupp says the city isn’t out of the woods yet.
“Rather than pick winners or losers, we’re all in this together as a community,” Kaupp explained. “We’re just asking people to use their heads.”
The city is also asking residents to delay pressure-washing driveways, using washing machines and dishwashers and to take short showers.
Officials say the production of potable drinking water at the Water Treatment Plant has been slowed since late last week due to extremely muddy conditions and high turbidity in the Oldman River, which was caused by rapid snow melt and ice jams.
The city says it isn’t sure when the water supplies will be replenished but with the help of the community, they’re hoping it’s sooner rather than later.
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