SAWS Conservation Ordinance - Charity Car Washes
Aquifer Beaker

Edwards Aquifer

Aquifer Level 658.2'
5/22/18 - Official

The Edwards aquifer and its catchment area in the San Antonio region is about 8,000 square miles and includes all or part of 13 counties in south-central Texas.

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Stage 1:
Water once a week

Watering with an irrigation system or sprinkler is allowed only once a week before 11 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on your designated watering day as determined by your address.

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Aquifer Level 658.2 | Stage 1: Water once a week


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Commercial Programs & Rebates

Charity Car Washes

Conservation Ordinance Affects Charity Car Washes

Attention all fundraisers! If you or someone you know raises money through car wash events, please know that the rules have changed.

SAWS Certified Car Wash Facilities
As part of their certification process, these facilities have agreed to host a minimum of three fundraiser vehicle washes per year:

View list of certified car washes

That's right, there are now rules and proper procedures for conducting car wash fundraisers. Years ago City Council realized that car washes held at restaurants, shopping centers and other business caused a huge waste in Edwards Aquifer water as well as violated existing storm water and aquifer protection regulations.

So, as part of the recently-passed Conservation Ordinance, all charity car washes can only be held at permanent car wash businesses. This provision became effective March 1, 2005.

"Many car wash events have already been adapted to working with car wash owners," said Ruby Perez, SAWS conservation planner, "and without fail the charity organizations end up making more money. The only slight drawback is that these church groups and high school clubs need to plan at least two weeks in advance and contact the owners directly."

SAWS is working closely with business owners in the Southwest Car Wash Association. Many of these owners are certified in the SAWS Vehicle Wash Conservation program. Part of the certification process includes an agreement by the owner to host at least three charity washes each year. Although, when your group is looking for a potential location for your event you can obviously contact any car wash owner in town.

Here are some suggested tips to remember before contacting an owner to set up your event:

  • Your organization must have a tax-exempt, non-profit status under the Section 501 (c) (3) section of the Federal Tax Code.
  • The owner/car wash operator could contribute a minimum of 5% of the gross revenues generated by his facility during a designated period of time.
  • The owner would provide tokens or certificate books at a discount of 15%, which can then be sold by the charity group.
  • The owner could provide one or more vehicle wash bays to your group for a designated time.

Please keep in mind if you want to sponsor a car wash event you'll need to plan ahead and negotiate the specific arrangements with the car wash owner. For more information on this please please call SAWS at 210-704-SAVE.