Students from three high schools across Santa Barbara County have been judged the first-, second- and third-place winners in the county’s 2013 WaterWise High School Video Contest.

For the second year in a row, a student team from Pioneer Valley High School has won first place with their video, “Water Wise Ways.”

The video contest, sponsored annually by the Santa Barbara County Water Agency and partnering water providers from across the county, requires participating students to create 30- or 60-second videos about water conservation.

“Students were challenged to communicate important advice about the wise use of water while also making sure their video can be a memorable and entertaining public service announcement,” said Matt Naftaly, manager of the Santa Barbara County Water Agency.

In a shift away from past venues, this year’s awards ceremony took place for the first time in a movie theater, where the student producers, their families and teachers saw their films on the big screen. Taking place in Buellton’s Parks Plaza Theater, this 14th annual awards event celebrated the students’ creative approaches to conserving water.

Another first for this year’s contest was the People’s Choice Award, which recognized the video with the most “likes” on the video contest’s Facebook page. Students from Dos Pueblos High School won this inaugural prize with their video, “Bob’s Dilemma.”

All together, the 16 submitted videos reached more than 34,000 viewers through Facebook and demonstrated how social media can deliver important messages. Also recognized this year was second-place winner “Keep Santa Barbara Water Wise” from Laguna Blanca, and third-place winner “Save Water, Be Happy” from Dos Pueblos High School.

Students from the following high schools participated: San Marcos, Bishop Garcia Diego, Dos Pueblos, Santa Ynez Valley Union, Laguna Blanca, Ernest Righetti and Pioneer Valley. The county Water Agency and local water providers thank all the teachers and students in this year’s WaterWise High School Video Contest.

Click here to view any of the 16 videos or videos from previous years.

— Randy Turner is a program specialist for Santa Barbara County Public Works.