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Water rating

Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme

A joint government and industry program

For Consumers

WELS is Australia's water efficiency labelling scheme. It allows consumers to compare the water efficiency of different products by requiring that certain products have water rating labels at the point of sale or display/advertising.

All WELS products must be registered with the regulator, rated and labelled according the requirements of the WELS Standard AS/NZS6400:2005 Water-efficient products-Rating and labelling.

For information on testing see: How products are tested.

Buying water-using products

Many factors come into play when you start thinking about buying a product – cost, style, performance, quality. Saving water and saving on your water bills (or resulting energy bills for hot water) can be a deciding factor in determining the type of product you buy.

If you're about to buy a water-using product find out first how WELS water efficiency ratings can save you money and help the environment. It's simple – the more stars on the water rating label, the less water that product will use, and the more money you will save.

What are WELS products?

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.

Label information

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.

Other products?

Other products are being examined for possible future inclusion in the scheme. For more information see:

Finding WELS products

To compare the water efficiency ratings of different WELS products you can search the WELS product database.