Please note: this information was current as of March 2008 but is still a useful guide to today's market.
The water efficiency label allows consumers to compare the water efficiency of different products. The products are tested and rated according to a national water efficiency standard. Each label shows a star rating out of six for the product – the more stars the better. It also shows a water consumption or water flow figure which is based on laboratory tests.
The label allows you to easily compare the water efficiency of products before you buy. Water efficient products will help you save water and (when you’re using hot water) energy – and therefore money.
Since July 2006 it’s been compulsory for all new domestic washing machines, dishwashers, showers, toilets, urinals and most taps to display the label. You might still see some unlabelled dishwashers and washing machines until the transition period expires on 31 December 2007. Second hand products and products imported into Australia for personal use aren’t required to have a WELS label.
It’s estimated that by 2021 Australians could save more than $600 million in water and energy bills by using more efficient products. For example:
- An older-style single-flush toilet can use up to 12 litres of water per flush. A modern dual-flush toilet uses only six litres for a full flush and three litres for a half.
- A standard showerhead can use up to 25 litres per minute, a water efficient one might use as little as seven.
- An efficient washing machine may only use a third of the water of an inefficient one. When using a warm or hot wash program, it’ll also save you energy.
To learn more about the scheme or search a database of registered products for their water efficiency go to www.waterrating.gov.au.