Target Three Special: Faces of Drought Part One

- As lake levels this week hit 25.8% it's important that everyone remembers that every drop counts, especially when we hit the stage 5 water emergency.

Many local businesses are feeling the effects of having less water to work with, while trying to do what they can to conserve what's left.

Among the hardest hit businesses right now are the car washes. When stage 5 restrictions take effect, they will have to shut down two days a week when lakes hit 25% and shut down completely if lakes hit 20%.  

During stage 4, car washes must close one day a week. One manager I spoke with says he thinks that action is unfair and unnecessary.

And when the soap and water is cut off,  the same could happen with many jobs,  jobs All American Car Wash Manager Jim Cadotte says he's not ready to sacrifice.

“We have a lot of employees that have been with us for many years, 14 years, 15 years, 10 years. This is like a family here as much as it is a business,” says Cadotte.

Some employees are already feeling the pressure of the looming stage 5 rules, as schedules will need to be readjusted while having to shut down Sundays and Mondays in stage 5.

“Well it comes into job security, a lot of us are feeling that, cause you know a lot of us do work on Sunday and Monday,” says employee Samuel Detrick.

That schedule change may not affect everyone, but for students like Detrick, it's a concern.

“I'm actually in school too so I have to take off of school Tuesday’s and Thursdays so it will affect us some,” says Detrick.

For now, Cadotte says they are trying to make the possible changes as easy as they can while hoping if the drought doesn't improve soon that they can change the city's mind about cutting off their water.

Cadotte says it's about changing people's perception from thinking car washes are a water waster to a water saver.

80% of the water they use is recycled and Cadotte says shutting every car wash in the city down for a year would only save 2 days of water.

A price he says isn't worth losing money that stays local and seeing employees like Detrick lose his job.

“I do have a couple other jobs lined up and I am looking, being proactive about it,” says Detrick.

Cadotte says being proactive is exactly what they are trying to do by cutting back while looking for alternative water sources. He says the lack of water is a shared burden.

“All of us making the sacrifices everyday to save water,” says Cadotte.

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