Reducing water use is WELS underway

Efforts to reduce urban water use under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme are being stepped up with a fresh focus on obligations in the building and property development industry.

The WELS Regulator in the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Mr Paul Morris, said that industry compliance was critical to reducing water use under WELS.

“Many people in the building industry are unaware that they have legal obligations to provide water efficiency information on household fixtures such as taps, showers, toilets, dishwashers and washing machines,” Mr Morris said

“To be offered for sale in Australia, these products must be registered with WELS and the WELS information must be provided in inclusion lists and display suites.

“Buyers should have access to the information they need to make decisions that save water and money, which is why we are working hard to ensure compliance in the industry.

“We are encouraging businesses in the building and related industries to make sure they only source and sell WELS compliant products.

”While we are initially focussing on education, infringement notices for up to $6300 may be given for each unregistered, unlabelled or incorrectly labelled product. If the matter proceeds to court, penalties of up to $63,000 can apply for each product.

“Water efficiency is important to consumers who want to save money on bills and reduce their environmental footprint.

“By 2021 it is estimated that use of water efficient products will help to reduce domestic water use by nearly 150,000 megalitres each year—enough water to fill 60,000 Olympic swimming pools,” Mr Morris said.

“In addition, Australians will save more than one billion dollars overall through reduced water and energy bills.”

Mr Morris said that over 26,000 products are currently registered with WELS by nearly 400 businesses.

“In a 2014 study, 87% of consumers recognised the Water Rating label and most were influenced by the label in deciding which product to buy.

“It is therefore important that the building and property development industry comply with the WELS scheme and fully understand their obligations.

“As part of our efforts to inform the industry, we have significantly refreshed the WELS website to make that information even clearer.

“I invite industry to explore the website and use it to enhance their understanding of the WELS scheme for the benefit of all consumers.

“This is an important reminder that we all have a responsibility to use Australia’s water wisely and reduce consumption – while also benefiting individually from lower utility bills.”

For more information on Australia’s water efficiency labelling scheme and the benefits it delivers for Australians, visit: www.waterrating.gov.au

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