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Drought Watch In Effect For D.C. Region

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By Jonathan Wilson

Record high summer temperatures and low mean things are pretty dry in the D.C. metropolitan area right now, and this week the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments put the region on drought watch.

A drought "watch" is just the second level on the four-stage drought response plan created by the Council of Governments, or COG, in the year 2000.

The declaration means there's still plenty of water in backup reservoirs, but citizens are urged to take water conservation steps because the Potomac River flow is down, and rainfall over the past month is down 50 percent.

Some steps are obvious, like taking shorter showers, but you can do other things to help, like using commercial car washes like SeCar in Annandale, Virginia, which uses mostly recycled water.

Stanley Robinson has been the manager here for 20 years.

"We recycle 85-90 percent of our water, so we only use 15 percent of fresh water," says Robinson.

Robinson says that means SeCar only uses about 15 gallons of fresh water per wash, less than the average person uses in a 10 minute shower.

Of course, unless your car is truly filthy, you might want to skip a wash altogether to save the most water, but Robinson says a lot of people want their cars sparkling when the weather is sunny; business, has been booming.

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