It’s that time of year again when Helix Water District reminds local high school photography teachers to encourage their students to shoot and enter their best pictures in the agency’s annual “water colors” photo contest.

Deadline for entries is March 11 and cash prizes of $200, $100 and $50 will be awarded, respectively, for first, second and third places in two categories: color and black & white. Judges also may select an image as “best-in-show,” which would be awarded $250.  Additionally, the district may submit winning entries into a regional competition with student work in neighboring water agencies, so a further award and prize may be possible.

Helix has sponsored this competition for the last 13 years, rewarding eye-catching photography produced by eligible students living within the district’s service area.

“The trend from the beginning has been a continual increase in the number and quality of entries,” said contest coordinator Ted Salois, senior public affairs representative at Helix. “The judges are more amazed each year at the high-caliber images submitted by the area’s youth.  It seems certain that some of these kids will continue studying visual media and pursue careers in the profession.”

The district created the competition to increase awareness about issues surrounding water in Southern California while giving local students an opportunity to have their work published in Helix’s annual reports, water quality pamphlets, brochures, posters and other communications materials.

Students who wish to participate should pay close attention to submission requirements. The district receives hundreds of images, so entries missing needed information or required signatures will get disqualified before judging takes place. The major criteria for entries are listed below.

  • “Water” is the theme of the contest, but it may be expressed loosely, figuratively, abstractly.
  • Only students who live in the Helix Water District service area are eligible to compete.
  • Images must have been made in San Diego County after Dec. 31, 2014.
  • Images with any color must be entered into the color category.
  • A maximum of three entries may be entered per photographer.
  • Each photo must be mounted on a 16” x 20” board.
  • Entries must be received at the district’s La Mesa headquarters by March 11, 2016.
  • Each entry must include a title and caption.
  • Offensive or obviously inappropriate imagery will be removed from the competition.
  • A signed image & likeness release must be included for each identifiable person in photos.
  • Photographer or subjects under 18 must have parent or guardian signature on related forms.
  • All entries become the sole property of Helix Water District and will not be returned.

Students are encouraged to collaborate with the art/photography teacher(s) at their high school. Click on the link below for an entry and image release form for this year’s contest.

Entry Form & Image Release 2015-2016

If you have a question not covered by the information above, contact contest coordinator Ted Salois at (619) 667-6257 or