Ventura County water officials may have a prize for drivers who skip the car wash this month.
Over the month of July, Ventura County water is hosting a dirty car contest to send a messy message about water usage across the state.
California is currently in the midst of a withering drought, resulting in state officials urging citizens to cut back on their water usage. But in May, water usage actually went up by one percent, prompting state water officials to approve fines of up to $500 a day for people who waste water on landscaping, washing vehicles and other outdoor uses.
Drivers are encouraged to post a picture of their car on Ventura Water's Facebook page, and the three vehicles with the most dirt, and the most likes, at the end of the month will be rewarded by a complete car detail.
A free car wash is also being offered to the top two dirty car pictures every week.
Water conservation officials in the county have branded July "Don’'t Wash Your Car" month to educate car owners on the way to save water while keeping your car clean.
Officials say taking a car to a professional car washing operation can save up to 100 gallons of water over home washing.
Additionally, officials say commercial car washers often recycle the water they use.
While spring rains helped increase water levels, those gains have been limited by some of the warmest summer months on record, officials said.
Ventura Mayor Cheryl Heitmann has gotten into her ride grimy, she said she hasn't washed her car since June.
"Here in Ventura this is exactly the right kind of community to do this, people get engaged in what we're doing and really want to help," she said.
The dirty car contest ends on July 30, the same night as a planned community forum to teach residents how they can better conserve.
John Cádiz Klemack contributed to this report.