Water Utility Contest Urges Residents to Reduce Plastic Bottle Use

Wisconsin water utility asks residents to show their commitment to sustainability

In an effort to reduce the 2.5 million plastic water bottles tossed by Americans every hour, the Madison (Wis.) Water Utility (MWU) has launched a contest encouraging residents to use reusable bottles. 

With 850 miles of pipe, seven pump stations and three ground-level reservoirs, the utility provides water service to 66,500 homes, hospitals and businesses. This year, MWU is spending $7.5 million to rebuild and renew the city’s water pipes as the aging infrastructure has taken its toll. 

“For the cost of one store-bought bottle of water, residents can fill a reusable bottle with Madison tap water 5,000 times,” notes a press release from the city.

The aptly named Bare Your Bottle contest runs through the end of summer and invites local water drinkers to send in photos with their reusable water bottle around Madison. According to the utility’s website, winners will be chosen based on the following categories:

  • Most Scenic: Residents are asked to show off their reusable bottle at Madison’s parks, lakes, gardens and scenic spots.
  • Most Madison: Residents are asked to capture the essence of Madison. What does it mean exactly?
  • Most Sporty: Residents are asked to sport their reusable bottle at a game, on a bike ride or on the golf course.
  • Best in Show: If it’s an awesome picture and doesn’t fit into any of the above categories, it goes here.

Contestants can submit photos via Twitter or email and the pictures will be posted on the utility’s Facebook page. A panel of MWU employees will choose the winners. Winners receive a stainless steel bike bottle.

The Madison utility is combining social media with public input and participation to lead a campaign on water conservation and pollution, which is something many utilities struggle to find a balance between. Using ideas like the Bare Your Bottle contest from municipalities around the country can spur your local municipalities’ commitment to sustainability.


What is your utility or water treatment facility doing to encourage a reduction in plastic bottle use or other water conservation efforts? Post a comment below or email me at brianaj@colepublishing.com.



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