InkWELS – Issue 2, 2018

InkWELS newsletter

Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme

Issue 2, 2018

The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme newsletter is published quarterly to update you on developments and highlight some of our achievements.

If you have particular topics you’d like to see covered in future, please let us know.

Compliance and enforcement–having an impact

An Australian flag is draped on a black table next to a red book with a  judges gavel on top of it.

Businesses that do not comply with WELS requirements can undermine the scheme.

WELS legislation includes a range of enforcement options that we use to make sure WELS meets its objectives.

When businesses do not know about or understand our requirements, we work to educate them.

When this does not bring about the appropriate changes or where non-compliance is clearly deliberate, we may take other actions.

In 2017 and the first half of 2018 we issued:

  • six infringement notices for a total of $32,400
  • one remedial action notice requiring a business to correct non-compliant supply
  • eleven notices requiring people to provide information, noting that criminal penalties can apply to those who don’t comply with the notice.

We inspected 100 new building display suites that did not comply with labelling requirements. Seventy-eight of these became compliant, and eighteen are cooperating to become compliant.

From 1 January to 30 July 2018 we contacted 83 businesses regarding non-compliant websites. Of these, 52 became compliant after they were informed of the requirements, six complied after formal warnings were issued, and 19 appear to be working cooperatively to become compliant. 

Through our joint compliance program, eBay removed more than 3,000 non-compliant listings of WELS products in the second half of 2017. In late 2017, WELS commenced work on a similar joint program with Amazon.

Testing of washing machines through the Equipment Energy Efficiency program in the Department of the Environment and Energy identified several washing machines that used more water than expected when run on a cold water wash cycle. Manufacturers have been working cooperatively to address the issue, with LG contacting affected consumers in order to fix the machines.

Registration renewals–don't supply products with expired registrations!

A button with the word register on it with a hand with its index finger extended to click the button.

Registration renewals will be open from 15 September to 5 December 2018.

Registrations expired on 22 July 2018 for products that were not renewed in the 2017 renewal period.

If some of your registrations expired, you would have received an email notification. If these products are still offered for supply, you will need to register them again through a new application.

Remember that it is illegal to supply WELS products in Australia if their registration has expired.

Please consider how long it takes to clear stock when deciding whether to renew your products.

Changes to labelling requirements now in full effect

An image of a water rating label with the star rating and litres per minute values in front of a set of front loader clothes washing machines.

A new WELS label design and provisions for registering 4-star showers and 6-star toilets have been in place since 2016.

The new labels are designed to be simpler and easier to read, improve brand recognition, and provide more accurate information about the relative water efficiency and consumption of products.

To assist industry in changing to the new label design, transitional arrangements were in place from 18 August 2016 to 21 July 2018.
The new requirements are now in full effect and any old labels on floor stock should be replaced.

All products must now meet the labelling requirements in the new standard, AS/NZS 6400:2016 Water efficient products - Rating and labelling.

These arrangements apply to:

  • water rating labels
  • display or promotional material including advertising, brochures, catalogues, display cards, editorials, electronic displays, magazines, online listings and product specifications.

The use of Text Advice for online and instore remains an acceptable labelling option.

Check the standard or contact WELS for advice on labelling your products correctly.

Simplifying applications for WELS and WaterMark

Man typing on a computer, looking into the camera and smiling.

WELS registrants have asked for a single registration process for WELS and WaterMark.

One way to streamline registrations is to enable WaterMark Conformity Assessment Bodies(WMCABs) to submit registration applications on behalf of the registrant.

WELS provided training sessions with WMCABs in May 2018. Participants learned about WELS requirements and how to use the WELS product registration database.

Ask your WMCAB if they will undertake the WELS registration process on your behalf, as an additional service. If they will, then you need only provide materials to one organisation to obtain WaterMark certification and WELS registration.

Remember that having a third party undertake the registration process for you does not change your obligations. If you supply WELS products, you must ensure the products are registered and labelled.

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