Water shortages will impact service stations far more than any unregulated hand car wash operator, according to David Charman, chairman of the Car Wash Assocation (CWA).

Following a government water summit last month and news that much of South East England is now officially in a state of drought, David said that water shortages may threaten to change for good the way car washing is operated in England, adding that car wash operators using more than 30 litres of fresh water per wash should seriously consider investing in a water recycling system.

"There is no doubt that this huge problem could be with us for a long time," said David. "I would urge operators to consider carefully how, in these drought conditions, they can hold onto the fantastic sales we currently enjoy."

Speaking at the government’s water summit at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) last month, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman urged water companies, businesses, and consumers to find ways of reducing water waste and water usage: "Drought is already an issue this year with the South East, Anglia and other parts of the UK now officially in drought, and more areas are likely to be affected as we continue to experience a prolonged period of very low rainfall," she said. "It is not just the responsibility of Government, water companies and businesses to act against drought. We are asking for the help of everyone by urging them to use less water and to start now."