In Haute-Vienne, the ban on car washing is moderately enforced

In Haute-Vienne, car washing has been restricted to individuals for several weeks due to the drought. But the prefectural decree is difficult to be respected.

In one of the laundry halls in Limoges, a small sign is carefully framed, but not necessarily very visible: “Temporary closure. Due to the current prefectural decree on restrictions on the use of water and drought, washing vehicles is prohibited (…)”

Since July 12, 2022 actually has one the prefectural decree prohibits the washing of private vehicles at stations not equipped with a water recycling system.

Problem, the message obviously hasn’t gotten around. This Saturday, August 6, 2022, while the thermometer still reads almost 30°C and not a drop of rain has fallen for several days, some (or rather some) are quietly washing their cars: “I suspected it was forbidden, but I’m going to a wedding”, justifies a user. At another station, where markings prohibit the use of wash boxes, a person returning from the island of Oléron explains that he allowed himself “just rinse a little to prevent the sand from scratching the paint”.

Fortunately, these incomprehensible attitudes are not the norm for all drivers. For most people, washing the car during this dry period is not a priority, and the prohibition order seems quite normal: “You can’t cry about climate change, water problems, price increases and not act as well yourself”assures Caroline, who almost proudly detests a rather dusty car, due to lack of recent washing.

It is usually in the middle of a heat wave that you have to reserve water for those who really need it, such as farmers or anyone who works their land.

What the prefectural decree says

With the onset of summer and the drought setting in for a long time, the Haute-Vienne prefecture has gradually limited the use of water in the department. This “to prioritize the guarantee of access to drinking water for all”explains Jean-Philippe Aurignac, Secretary General of the Prefecture of Haute-Vienne

In vigilance since May, the department was placed in crisis on July 12, 2022, and the measures to limit the use of water have been tightened: watering of green areas, swimming pools, etc. is now limited.

With regard to car washes, it is now prohibited:

Washing of public or private vehicles, except for specialized wash stations with recycling circuits, except for vehicles with a legal obligation (medical, food or livestock transport vehicles) or technical (concrete mixers, etc.)

Excerpt from the Haute-Vienne prefecture

The only recourse for individuals therefore, stations equipped with a water recycling system. This system allows the water used to wash the vehicle to go back into a circuit where it is filtered and then reinjected to wash the next vehicle.

A station equipped with recycling uses 50 liters for a car wash, when an unequipped station uses 200 liters.

Jean-Philippe Aurignac, Secretary General of the Prefecture of Haute-Vienne

The ecological and economic interest is therefore important. For this independent owner who owns several car wash stations in Limoges and in the urban area, this unit is “It is the basis of common sense, I hate waste. Since I do a lot of things on my own, I managed to set up assembly systems that recycle water at all my stations as I took them over.”.

Or it gets complicated, is it all car washes are far from equally virtuous, and the big brands are not necessarily the best equipped. To encourage them to install these water recycling systems, the prefecture has implemented specific regulations: “We are developing a message for professionals so that they quickly equip their washing stations with recycling devices in the coming months. », continues Jean-Philippe Aurignac. Specifically, car washes that do not have the recycling system can benefit from partial activity when they have employees to avoid excessive financial losses. At the same time, the prefecture is also working with the Haute-Vienne Chamber of Commerce and Industry to see how to support the owners of these stations.

Yet today it is impossible to clearly distinguish between stations that recycle water and those that do not. ” It is truecontinues the independent washing machine. We are thinking of putting something up that explains that we recycle water and that we turn off the lights at night..

In the meantime, control, in particular by the French Biodiversity Office carried out with individuals, local communities and companies. For now, the prefecture relies primarily on pedagogy and common sense (or common sense, period) to avoid washing your car at the moment. But water resources are still dwindling, it may harden the tone. In the event of a violation, it must offenders are punished with a fine of 1500 euros.

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