Water efficiency guidelines for fixed commercial premises

Efficient water use by the whole community is essential to securing water supply for the long-term. This guideline refers to operators using water from the reticulated (town) supply system to undertake washing of standard vehicles at fixed commercial premises. This includes, but not limited to: 

  • vehicle service centres
  • permanent bay car wash centres
  • self serve car wash centres
  • automatic car washing centres

It is critical that operators involved in washing standard vehicles at fixed commercial premises include water use efficiency and advances in technology in their business planning. In addition, operators should continue to upgrade to the most water efficient equipment as soon as it becomes economically feasible.

The objective of this guideline is to provide advice on:

  • The compliance requirements for operators of fixed commercial premises under Toowoomba Regional Council Restrictions; and
  • Industry water targets, practices and water efficient equipment to be used for particular tasks.

This guideline complements the Water Efficiency Guidelines for Mobile Vehicle Washing and Detailing and Large Vehicle Washing.

How to demonstrate compliance

All operators must:

  • Operate in accordance with Toowoomba Regional Council Water Restrictions
  • Meet the target for the washing method specified in Table 1 for this document
  • Have this target certified by a Water Efficiency Assessor (Table 2 - see form in related documents below or phone TRC on 131872 and ask for a hard copy to be sent to you))
  • Complete Compliance Submission Cover Sheet (see form in related documents below or phone TRC on 131872 and ask for a hard copy to be sent to you)
  • Keep a weekly written record of the number of vehicles washed and amount of water used
  • Install a sub-meter on the make-up supply line*

*applicable to mixed-business use premises where vehicle washing makes up a significant amount of the total volume of water used on the premises. A significant amount of water is defined as:

  • Greater than 15% and less than 85% of total water use for premises using greater than 50ML per year
  • Greater than 30% and less than 85% of total water use for premises using less than 50ML per year

Note: Premises with water use of 10ML or greater per year must wash vehicles in accordance with this guideline and an approved Water Efficiency Management Plan (WEMP).

Certifying targets

Operators must have their water usage targets certified by a Water Efficiency Assessor (WEA). A WEA is a person competent to assess, identify and assist in the implementation of measures or actions to use water efficiently within the business/industry and who has relevant industry experience/expertise and is trained to undertake water audits and/or assess water efficient technologies and performance, using a verifiable system or in accordance with a water rating scheme, acceptable to Toowoomba Regional Council as the Water Service Provider (WSP).

Operators will need to satisfy themselves that the person engaged meets the above criteria.

To make a submission to Toowoomba Regional Council as the local WSP, operators will need to provide the

  • a completed Compliance Submissions Cover Sheet for vehicle washing at fixed commercial premises
  • supporting documentation; and/or
  • the methodology applied for assessing the site.

Note: Toowoomba Regional Council as the local WSP has the power to audit compliance of the vehicle washing premises without giving prior notice.

Target, practice and equipment requirements

Each type of vehicle wash on a site must be assessed separately. Each target has been set after extensive research and is listed below (Table 1) with a description. These targets indicate the most efficient water use from the reticulated (town) supply system, supplemented by alternative water sources.

Table 1: Water use targets

 Vehicle Washing Method  Volume
 ‘Standard’ self serve wash 60L
 ‘Average’ wash for touch free automatic (in bay) 70L
 ‘Average’ wash for brush automatic (in bay) 70L
 ‘Average’ wash for conveyer system (brush or hand) 70L
 ‘Average’ semi-automated hand wash 70L

To ensure the performance targets are met, even after compliance is demonstrated, equipment must be maintained and kept in good condition.

Note: any new machines must be assessed and validated by a Water Efficiency Assessor. A submission demonstrating compliance must then be submitted to Toowoomba Regional Council as the Water Service Provider prior to operation within the council boundaries. All operators must remember that failure to comply with any or all of the criteria within this guideline will result in the business not being able to operate the noncompliant section of the vehicle washing facility.

Making a compliance submission

All correspondence should be addressed to the WaterWise Technical Officer.