water efficiency labelling and standards (WELS)

WELS is the Australian Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme. It requires certain products to be registered and labelled with their water efficiency in accordance with the standard set under the national Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005.

The WELS Scheme excludes second-hand products and products imported into Australia for personal use.

The WELS water rating label shows:

  • A zero to six star rating that allows a quick comparative assessment of the water efficiency of a product. The more stars on the label the more water efficient the product.
  • A figure showing the water consumption flow of the product based on laboratory tests.

WELS products are:

  • lavatory equipment (Toilet pans, cisterns, flushing mechanisms & suites)
  • urinal equipment
  • taps intended for use over a basin, sink or tub (excluding over a bath)
  • showers for personal bathing
  • flow controllers
  • washing machines, including combination washer/dryers
  • the dryer function of combination washer/dryers

The washer and dryer functions of combination washer/dryers have separate labelling requirements for each function. It is a little known fact that the dryer function of these machines can also use water.

Washing machines and toilets also have minimum water efficiency standards:

  • Washing machines with a capacity of 5kg or more must rate at least 3 stars, while those with a capacity of less than 5kg must rate at least 2.5 stars.
  • Toilets must not use more than 5.5 L for their average flush consumption, and will have at least one star.

Aside from the star rating the water rating labels carry other useful information:

  • Labels for washing machines, dishwashers and toilets display the water consumption in litres per use. Toilets display their full, half and average flush consumptions.
  • Tap and shower labels show water use as the flow rate in litres per minute. A higher figure means more water is used over a given time.

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