Developers encouraged to remember water efficiency obligations

Posted 14 November 2017

Shower head
Building and property developers practices are the latest to undergo review in an effort to reduce urban water use under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme.

Industry compliance is crucial to achieving water efficiency goals under the scheme, said Department of Agriculture and Water Resources WELS Regulator Paul Morris. 

“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,” Morris said.

He added that buyers should be well informed about the water efficiency of their appliances, which depends heavily on industry compliance. WELS is focused on educating and encouraging businesses in the building and related industries to source compliant products. However, the scheme is also instituting penalties for noncompliance. 

“While we are initially focusing on education, infringement notices for up to $3600 might 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,” Morris said.

It is hoped that such consequences will drive home the point that water efficiency should be considered at all stages of development.

“By 2021 it is estimated that use of water-efficient products will help to reduce domestic water use by nearly 150,000 ML each year,” Morris said. 

“In addition, Australians will save more than $1 billion overall through reduced water and energy bills.” 

According to Morris, studies have shown that water efficiency labelling schemes have influenced a majority of consumer purchases, and 87% of consumers recognised the Water Rating label. 

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

“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.”

You can read more about the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards scheme here
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