Water-Use and Conservation in the Commercial Vehicle Washing Industry in Urban Ghana: The Case of Cape Coast Metropolis

J. H. Quayson, E. Awere

Abstract

Commercial vehicle washing businesses have gained popularity in urban Ghana. Most vehicle washing bays operating in the Cape Coast Metropolis rely on Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) for their water supply. With increasing vehicular numbers, the pressure on the limited safe water quantities is likely to increase. There is the need to regulate the operations of the commercial vehicle washing industry to ensure water conservation and its associated environmental and social impacts. This study is aimed at assess the water-use and conservation strategies in the commercial vehicle washing industry in the Cape Coast Metropolis. The study focused on all the sixteen (16) commercial vehicle washing bays in the Cape Coast metropolis which are registered with and certified by the Metropolitan Assembly and are also members of the Vehicle Washing Bay Operators Association, Cape Coast Branch. Data was collected through the use of pre-tested questionnaire and interview guide as well as personal observation and measurement. A total of Thirty-two (32) questionnaires were distributed to the General Managers and Operation Managers of all the 16 washing bays in the metropolis. In addition, officials of Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly (CCMA) and Central Regional office of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were interviewed. Trained Research Assistants were assigned to each vehicle washing bay for one week including Saturdays and Sundays to count the number of vehicles washed daily and the quantity of water used for washing. The study revealed that the most common technique used by the washing bays is the manual and semi-automatic washing process. On the average, the quantity of water required for washing vehicles ranges between 162.0 litres for saloon vehicles and 532.0 litres for tipper trucks. A minimum of 96 vehicles are washed daily utilizing approximately 19,346.00 litres (19.346 m3) of water. There are no water efficiency and wastewater reclamation regulations in place for the vehicle washing industry. It is concluded that the existing commercial vehicle washing facilities in use does not ensure efficient water use and conservation.

Keywords

Vehicle washing bay, Water-use, water conservation, Ghana

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