Australia: Reducing water use is well underway

Efforts to reduce water use in urban areas 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.

Paul Morris, WELS Regulator in the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, stated 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,” he 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 buildings and related industries to make sure they only source and sell WELS compliant products.”

For the moment, however, the WELS scheme is focusing on education, aiming to inform consumers who are targeting water efficiency and looking to save money on water bills as well as reduce thweir 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,” Morris continued. “In addition, Australians will save more than AUD$1 billion (US$757 million) overall through reduced water and energy bills. It is therefore important that the building and property development industry comply with the WELS scheme and fully understand their obligations.”

Currently, almost 400 businesses have registered more than 26,000 products with WELS.

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