Water recycling in car wash stations: Prototype demonstration

Posted March 15, 2019

Protype demonstration of recycling water at car wash service stations was held in Islamabad in collaboration with Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The water recycling prototype was inaugurated at a local car wash station by Sheikh Anser Aziz, Mayor of Islamabad and Mr. Ignacio Artaza, Resident Representative (a.i.) UNDP, with representatives from petroleum companies, civil society organizations and development partners also present at the ceremony.

Water scarcity is a major challenge in Pakistan — estimates indicate that at the current rate the country may run dry by 2025. With a five-fold increase in Pakistan’s population since 1960, and with the current 30-day water storage capacity, some 207 million people will face ‘absolute scarcity’ of water, with less than 500 cubic meters available per person by 2025.

In Islamabad, over the past 5 years, water shortage has elevated to the level of crisis. Water shortage has risen to 106 million gallons per day. Water supply in the city, on the other hand, has decreased significantly due to reduction in supply from water reservoirs and ground water depletion. Extensive and unregulated usage of ground water for household and commercial purposes is another problem, that is resulting in massive depletion of ground water resources. In addition to the dwindling supply, water scarcity is also attributed to over consumption. It is evident that people waste water due to its low monetary value and limited regulations that prevent wasteful use of water.  

In collaboration with the Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad (MCI), UNDP is supporting efforts to promote water conservation at the household level and in other sectors of the economy. Water recycling in selected sectors, including the car service sectors is one of the avenues which have the potential to promote conservation and re-usage of large volumes of water. Based on the findings of a survey, each service station on average uses 19,000 liters of water per day. Using simple techniques that involve sedimentation in underground tanks and using chemical and biological treatments among other methods to recycle water will help conserve a large amount of water.

The porotypes will also be established in five other service stations across Islamabad to demonstrate a model for service stations to adopt.