Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme
Issue 1, 2020
The InkWELS newsletter provides stakeholders with an update on activities and achievements under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme.
If you have any relevant topics you would like covered in future additions of InkWELS, please contact us.
On 1 February 2020, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources merged with the Department of Environment to become the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. The WELS Scheme is administered as part of this department.
You may have started seeing our new email address @awe.gov.au instead of @agriculture.gov.au. Both addresses are delivering emails at present. We will inform you when @agriculture.gov.au will be turned off.
Our website address for the registration database and scheme information, waterrating.gov.au, will remain unchanged.
We have been working hard to ensure minimal disruptions to the WELS scheme during COVID-19.
Restriction measures have resulted in the majority of our staff working remotely to ensure that we can continue to provide ongoing support to our registrants and other stakeholders.
Throughout this time, the registration team has received a consistently large volume of new registration applications and queries. The team is working diligently to respond.
Our compliance team has been able to continue to work with industry to maintain compliance levels and enforce the WELS scheme requirements.
Our standards and evaluation team is also progressing work for the independent review of the WELS Scheme which is due to commence later in 2020. They are also engaging with Standards Australia, through its technical committees, to update and improve the quality of WELS relevant standards.
After overcoming some initial technical issues with the WELS product registration database and connectivity problems resulting from higher internet traffic, the transition to working from home has been relatively issue-free and we appreciate registrants’ understanding for any delays during this time.
Grandfathering provisions ceasing for 3-star rated showers with flow rates between 4.5 L/min and 7.5 L/min
Grandfathering provisions have been in place since April 2016 to allow suppliers of registered showers with flow rates from 4.5 to 7.5 L/min time to transition from requirements under the AS/NZS 6400:2005 standard to the requirements in AS/NZS 6400:2016.
The grandfathering provisions will cease on 30 June 2020.
Under the 2016 standard, the flow rates between 4.5 to 7.5 L/min now relate to a 4-star rating that requires the products to meet additional spray force and coverage tests. The 3-star rating is applicable to flow rates between 7.5 L/min and 9 L/min.
Any showers that are still registered with a 3-star rating that have a flow rate between 4.5 L/min and 7.5 L/min will become ‘not star rated’ from 1 July 2020. The star rating on the product labelling must be changed to ‘not star rated’ if they are offered for sale.
Registrants seeking a 4-star rating for a shower within this flow rate range will need to meet the spray force and spray coverage testing requirements set out in the standard. They will also need to complete a new product registration application.
From 22 July 2020, product registrations with a status of ‘ceasing’ will change to ‘expired’ and cannot be offered for sale in Australia. If you have any stock with a ceasing registration you can sell this product up until 21 July 2020 only.
For any remaining affected stock that is not sold before 22 July 2020, you are encouraged to contact your supplier about returning the affected stock or having the supplier re-register the products before being able to again offer them legally for sale in Australia.
In addition, if you are a reseller, you should check the registration status of any product before you buy it from your supplier.
If you require any further information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current activities with the Standards Australia technical committees include revisions and amendments to a number of the product standards.
Where a standard is relevant to your business, we strongly encourage you to familiarise yourself with any changes to that standard to ensure you remain up to date and can comply with any revised or new requirements. You can do this by following updates on the Standards Australia website.
Tap ware— AS/NZS 3718:2005
The revision includes numerous changes including the requirements for finishes and coatings.
Dishwashers— AS/NZS 2007:2005
The changes include requirements for soils and load items, and provision for an alternative reference machine to the one currently specified in the standard.
Clothes washing machines—AS/NZS 2040:2005 and rotary dryers AS/NZS 2442
These revisions will improve requirements such as extending the table about the weight of washing loaded from up to 10kg to up to 20kg.
Urinals— AS/NZS 3892:1996
A revision to the standard for Urinals— AS/NZS 3892:1996 has recently commenced and will address identified gaps and/or deficiencies in the performance requirements. Other activities include consideration of research proposals into the potential for further water efficiencies in toilet flush volumes.
Water Efficient Products – Rating and Labelling - AS/NZS 6400:2016
Work to amend WELS standard AS/NZS 6400:2016 is planned to commence later in the year. It will involve removing ambiguities and making improvements to better align the standard with the National Construction Code. This may include consideration for a review of the star rating for showers and tap equipment.
Standards proposal for in-service testing
Standards Australia is also considering how to include in-service testing measures in the product standards. In-service testing means that installed products can be tested to verify if they conform to the requirements of relevant standards and their WELS registered rating and consumption details. This will include testing standards for taps and showers, and possibly for toilets and urinals.