InkWELS – Issue 1, 2023

InkWELS newsletter

Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme

Issue 1, 2023

Our newsletter is published to keep you updated on the latest developments. If you have any topics you would like to see covered, please email us at

Court orders $2 million penalty to plumbing supplier under WELS scheme

Court orders

On 9 December 2022, the Federal Court of Australia handed down the judgment in the first civil penalty case under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005. The Court ordered Perth-based companies Renaissance Bathrooms, Traditional Taps, Castironbaths and Belfast Sinks, along with the sole director of all four companies, Mr Andrew Shaw, to pay a total of $2.195 million for supplying tap, shower and lavatory products that were not registered or labelled as required by the WELS Act. The judgement includes 5 year injunctions for Mr Shaw personally and for his solvent companies. Read Minister Plibersek’s media release and the judgment.

WELS Regulator supports recommendations of the 3rd review of WELS scheme and Intergovernmental Agreement

Third independent review report cover

The WELS Regulator, together with state and territory governments, are supportive of the 11 recommendations to enhance the WELS scheme and the 4 recommendations to modernise the Intergovernmental Agreement.

The WELS Strategic Plan 2022-25 sets out the priorities for the administration of the scheme that includes the strengthening and expanding of the program, as recommended by the third review of the scheme. This plan was developed based on recommendations of the review and in consultation with state and territory governments.

WELS Regulator advice on dual purpose tapware

The WELS Regulator continues to work with industry to support innovation that benefits the consumer and saves water.

Bathroom with taps and bath tub

As part of this, the Regulator has published advice on dual-purpose tapware products on our Water Rating website.

This advice applies to dual-purpose tapware products that are marketed and supplied for optional installation over a basin or bath.

WELS Compliance Policy and Plan

Describes WELS risk-based approach to compliance targeting and response, and new content about how we manage e commerce platform compliance

The revised WELS Compliance and Enforcement Policy sets out the WELS Regulator’s approach to preventing, identifying and responding to non-compliance.

It describes our risk-based approach to compliance targeting and response, and new content about how we manage e commerce platform compliance.

The WELS Compliance Monitoring Plan 2022-23 outlines the key regulatory risks that we will continue to focus on during this financial year.

WELS scheme showcased at COP27

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Australia is a country of droughts and floods, and climate change models predict more severe droughts and floods in the future. From 2001 to 2009 it suffered one of its worst droughts on record. 

Inefficient household appliances, plumbing and sanitary fittings such as taps, showers, toilets, dishwashers and washing machines use a lot of water, a problem in a world of declining freshwater resources.

One way to save water is to buy more efficient plumbing fixtures and appliances, but how do you know which ones are better and more efficient?

Legislation and regulation is Australia’s way of helping customers know which products are efficient and to stop inefficient products from being sold.

The WELS label is now a highly recognisable label that shows customers the water efficiency of various products.

Efficient plumbing fixtures and appliances save households money by reducing water and energy consumption.

The WELS scheme is used when building new homes to make sure the showers, toilets, taps etc, meet a minimum water efficiency.

The WELS scheme is driving innovation and the development of water efficient products as customers are increasingly looking for more efficient products. The saved water is now there for the community, industry, the environment and in times of drought. 

37 nations helped develop ISO 31600:2022 – an international standard for water efficiency labelling programs. 

The ISO 31600:2022 could help your country establish a water efficiency labelling program to save water, energy and carbon emissions – helping your country tackle climate change.

Find out more.

Australia’s success in establishing a water efficiency labelling program that saves water, energy and reduces carbon emissions is a model for other countries.

The success story of the WELS scheme in saving water and energy was showcased in an animation at the Australian pavilion at the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27).

This event took place from 6 to 20 November 2022 in the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

New product registration system


Our new product registration system is coming together nicely and there will be opportunity for registrants to test the new system between March and June this year. We will provide more information about how to volunteer to trial the new system in March.

The new system is planned to be rolled out this year and we will support registrant businesses through this transition by providing further information and training resources.

Coming soon: Free WELS online vocational educational training course 

We are developing a short online course for students and practitioners in the building and plumbing industries to learn about the WELS scheme.

Coming soon: Free WELS online vocational educational training course

Our aim is to help them understand the important role they play in saving water and their responsibilities under the WELS Act.

Our plan is to launch this free course in the second quarter of 2023 to vocational institutions and professional bodies. We will keep you updated via InkWELS so you can share this course with your colleagues, organisation and social networks once it goes live.

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