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Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme

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The WELS Standard

Date published: 
31 August 2016

The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Determination 2013 (No. 2) has been amended to give effect to a new WELS standard: AS/NZS 6400:2016 Water Efficient Products – Rating and Labelling.

The department is continuing to sponsor the free download of the standard. To obtain your copy of AS/NZS 6400:2016 see SAI Global.

A copy of the Determination is available.

The standard that sets out the criteria for rating the water efficiency and/or performance of each WELS product type is the Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 6400:2016 Water-efficient products - Rating and labelling.

This standard is the basis for the star ratings and water consumption and flow displayed on the WELS label. This standard is available as a free download from SAI Global (link is external). Note that you will need to register with SAI Global in order to access the document.

The new standard allows for the registration and labelling of four-star showers (high pressure only) and six-star toilets.

The amendment to the Determination also provides for transitional arrangements for the registration and labelling of high pressure showers.  Under these arrangements, existing registrations and star ratings for high pressure showers with nominal flow rates of more than 4.5 L/minute and not more than 7.5 L/minute may be maintained as currently registered until 1 July 2020, after which time they may only be registered in accordance with the requirements of the new standard.  Alternatively, these products can be registered in accordance with the new standard at any time before that date.

The WELS Regulator has issued a statement about transitional arrangements and enforcement of the requirements from the new standard, see WELS Regulator Communication – New Standard (PDF - 468 KB)​, Regulator's statement (PDF - 297 KB) - and FAQs - WELS transitional arrangements (PDF - 208 KB).

Legislative framework

The Australian Government's Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005 (The WELS Act), and Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (Registrations Fees) Act 2013 provide the legal framework for the WELS scheme.

The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Regulations 2005, the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Declaration 2016, the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Determination 2013 (No. 2) and the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards(Registration Fees) Determination 2013 are also part of the WELS legislative framework.

In summary the Australian Government's WELS legislation covers:

  • The establishment of the WELS Regulator to administer the scheme.
  • Authority for the Australian Minister for the Environment to specify the products to be covered by the WELS scheme, the standards they must meet and other requirements.
  • Requirements for the registration and labelling of WELS products, including setting the fees to register products.
  • Monitoring and enforcement measures, including the appointment of WELS inspectors.
  • Issuing and paying penalty infringement notices as an alternative to prosecution for offences.
  • Recognition of complementary state and territory legislation.​

WELS Legislative framework​


Flow chart showing the WELS legislative framework under both Acts 

The states and territories have also enacted or agreed to enact complementary legislation so there is national coverage for WELS, as follows:

Australian Capital Territory
Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (ACT) Act 2015
New South Wales
Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (New South Wales) Act 2005 New South Wales
Northern Territory
Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (National Uniform Legislation) ACT 2014
Queensland
Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005 Queensland
South Australia
Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (South Australia) Act 2013
Tasmania
Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2013
Victoria
Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005 Victoria
Western Australia
Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2006 Western Australia

The WELS Standard

The standard that sets out the criteria for rating the water efficiency and/or performance of each WELS product type is the Australian and New Zealand Standard AS/NZS6400:2005 Water-efficient products - Rating and labelling. This standard is the basis for the star ratings and water consumption and flow displayed on the WELS label.

This standard is available as a free download from SAI Global. Note that you will need to register with SAI Global in order to access the document.

Standards by product

The following standards apply to products regulated under the WELS Act
ProductStandard number and name
Showers
Tap equipment
Flow controllers
Toilets (lavatory equipment)
Urinal equipment
Clothes washers
Dishwashers

Please contact the WELS Section in the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources if you have any questions:

Email: WELS
1800 218 478 (toll-free within Australia)
+61 2 6272 5232 (international)

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