Australia world leader in reducing water scarcity

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has released a new world-leading international standard for water efficiency labelling programs.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has released a new world-leading international standard for water efficiency labelling programs and reducing water scarcity.

The Regulator of the Water Efficiency Labelling Standards (WELS) scheme, Ms Rachel Connell, said this new standard would help other nations to save water, reduce water scarcity, and reduce emissions at a time when water security and climate change are becoming a growing global threat.

The WELS Regulator is responsible for administering the scheme and monitoring and enforcing compliance. The Regulator works with industry and state and territory governments to deliver an effective, efficient scheme. It should achieve its objectives and avoids unnecessary costs to industry. The Regulator is the First Assistant Secretary of the Water Division in the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Water scarcity is vital to understand

Connell said, “Water underpins all human activity: food and energy production, physical health, life in cities, social stability. Yet we are seeing unsustainable demands and pressures on the world’s clean freshwater resources. That is why Australia has led the way in developing this standard with industry and key trading partners. It ensures we all preserve as much of this precious resource as much as possible, with the added benefits of reducing utility bills and emissions.”

The purpose of the WELS scheme is to conserve water supplies by reducing water consumption. It will promote the adoption of efficient and effective water-using and water-saving technologies. They will provide information for purchasers of water-using and water-saving products. Water efficiency and labelling requirements and criteria are established in Commonwealth, state and territory legislation and related standards.

Connell said, “This new standard highlights Australia’s internationally recognised expertise in water management. It acknowledges our WELS program as a world leader that saves over 158 gigalitres of water and more than $1.47 billion yearly on water and water-heating power bills here in Australia.”

Water scarcity needs industry support

Industry participation and compliance are essential to the integrity of the WELS scheme.

We aim to achieve this through education and engagement with suppliers in Australia and overseas. This includes helping businesses register products and inspecting businesses that supply regulated products. It will provide advice on WELS scheme requirements in person, on the phone and online. When this doesn’t influence suppliers to meet their obligations, we also have legislated powers to take enforcement action.

Connell said, “By leading the standard development, we are well-positioned to support Australian manufacturers and exporters to meet international water efficiency labelling requirements.

“Australia will continue to work to ensure we are at the forefront of water management globally to improve water security and reduce climate change’s impact.”

Day-to-day administration of the scheme is performed by the WELS section in the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment on behalf of the WELS Regulator.

Responsibilities of the WELS section include product registrations, communications, standards development, and compliance and enforcement activities.​

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