Water Contest

Sign up today for the Winona County Water Contest! The countywide contest is intended to support Winona County residents in saving water and reducing their water costs. The contest is open to all Winona County residents.

What: Contest participants will work to complete water saving actions to earn points, like installing efficient showerheads or cutting back on watering your lawn. The full list of actions is below.

Who: Residents can compete individually or as part of a team. For teams, the point totals for all team members will be added up and divided by the number of participants on the team to find the team’s average score. Teams and individuals compete directly. Prizes will be awarded to the individuals with the highest scores or the teams with the highest average scores.

Prizes: 1st = $750, 2nd = $300, 3rd = $250, 4th = $200 and $250 to two randomly-selected participants (team or individual) who earn more than 200 points.

When: The contest will run from April, 2018 to August, 2018. Sign up to participate at any time!

How: First, sign up for the contest by completing the form below or emailing us at water@sustainwinona.org.

Then, report actions you’ve taken by filling out the form at sustainwinona.org/water-contest-tracking or by emailing water@sustainwinona.org. This contest operates on the honor system. However, we reserve the right to ask for verification that you’ve completed any or all actions.

Sign up today and see the full list of actions below.

Water Contest Actions

When it comes to conserving water, small adjustments can have a big impact.


10pts – Tell a friend about this contest. Points each time a friend signs up based on your recommendation.

5pts – Use excess water (dropped ice cubes, water used to rinse fruits and vegetables, etc.) for other uses, like watering plants. Keep a bowl or watering can near the sink to hold water until you need it. Points every time you take this action.

10pts – Load your dishwasher full every time. Dishwashers are often more energy and water efficient than hand washing. If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones. Points every time you take this action.

10pts – If washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Points every time you take this action.

10pts – Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean. Points every time you take this action.

25pts – When shopping for a new dishwasher, use the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website to compare water use between models.

50pts – Use a water bottle whenever possible, rather than bottled water or a glass, to cut back on waste and extra dishes. Points once.

200pts – Replace your old dishwasher with a water- and energy-efficient dishwasher. Energy Star dishwashers save even more water and energy.


10pts – Wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible. Washing clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps your clothes retain their color. Points every time you take this action.

10pts – Wash only full loads of laundry. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month. Points every time you take this action.

25pts – When shopping for a new washing machine, compare resource savings among Energy Star models and at the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website. Some can save up to 20 gallons of water per load.

200pts – Replace your old washing machine with a water- and energy-efficient model.

300pts – Have a plumber re-route your greywater (used water) to trees and plants rather than the sewer line. Check with your city and county for relevant codes.


10pts – Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four. Points every time you take this action.

10pts – Turn off the water while shampooing your hair and save up to 150 gallons a month. Points every time you take this action.

15pts – Test to see how much water your shower fills in 20 seconds.

20pts – Measure how long you shower in one week and determine the length of your average shower.

20pts – Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. Points every time you take this action.

25pts – Toilet leaks can be silent! Test your toilet(s) for leaks. Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak.

50pts – Fix any existing toilet leaks to reduce unnecessary water use.

50pts – “Hack” older toilets by placing a brick or jar in the tank to reduce the water used on each flush.

50pts – Install water-saving aerators on your faucets. Points for each faucet.

100pts – If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a WaterSense® labeled model. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.

100pts – Shorten your average shower time by two minutes to save up to 150 gallons per month.

200pts – Upgrade older toilets with water-saving WaterSense® labeled models.

200pts – Upgrade your existing toilet with a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full-flush for solid waste.


15pts – Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.

20pts – Fix that leaky faucet. It’s simple, inexpensive, and you can save 140 gallons a week.

50pts – Let us know how much water you’ve saved by the end of the contest!


10pts – Leave lawn clippings on your grass, this cools the ground and holds in moisture. Points each time you take this action.

20pts – Adjust your lawn mower to the height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better than short grass.

20pts – While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed and use fertilizer sparingly.

50pts – Avoid watering the lawn during the heat of the day (10am-6pm).

250pts – Convert parts of your lawn to prairie or a perennial garden. Plants with deep roots (like prairie plants) need less water to survive and thrive.

50pts – Aerate your lawn. Holes every six inches will allow water to reach the roots, rather than run off the surface.

150pts – Turn off the sprinkler system and only water as needed.

150pts – Install a rain barrel to capture rainwater for re-use to water plants and your lawn.

200pts – Install a rain garden! Rain gardens prevent storm water runoff, require no watering, replenish your groundwater, and increase soil moisture.

200pts – Allow your lawn to go dormant over the summer. The MN DNR says, “Brown is okay during the heat of summer.”


10pts – Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. If a pipe bursts, shutting off the water could save 1,000s of gallons of water and prevent thousands of dollars in damage.

15pts – When the you or your kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it most. Did you know, if walking across the lawn leaves footprints and the blades don’t spring back up, then it is time to water.

15pts – Wash your pets outdoors, in an area of your lawn that needs water. Points each time you take this action.

50pts – For more immediate hot water and energy savings, insulate hot water pipes.

50pts – Install a hose nozzle and turn off the water while using your hose.


15pts – Include a water-saving tip (like those in this contest) in your employee or school newsletter.

20pts – Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults. Write a letter or make a phone call today!

30pts – Post a number in bathrooms and kitchens to report leaks or water waste to facility managers or maintenance personnel.

40pts – Create a suggestion and incentives system at your organization to recognize water-saving ideas.

50pts – Consider and compare water use when purchasing ice makers, dishwashers, reverse osmosis units, coolers, and cleaning equipment.

50pts – Become or appoint a water ambassador within your organization who creates, implements and maintains your water conservation program.

50pts – Create a goal of how much water your company can save and plan a celebration once that goal is met.

50pts – Saving water on your landscape adds up quickly. Send the person in charge of your landscape to an irrigation workshop.

75pts – Be sure your irrigation system is watering only the areas intended, with no water running onto walks, streets or down the gutter.

150pts – Publish your organization’s monthly water use to show progress toward water-saving goals.

150pts – Water audit your facility to find out your recommended water use, then monitor your utility bills to gauge your monthly consumption.