How Easy Is It To Save Water ?

WELS LabelMany people may not know that a water-efficient washing machine may use only one-third the water of an inefficient model, or an old-style single-flush toilet could use up to twelve litres of water per flush, while a standard dual flush toilet uses just a quarter of this on a half-flush. A standard showerhead may use up to twenty five litres of water per minute whereas a water-efficient showerhead might use as little as seven litres per minute, which is more than two thirds less.

Fortunately, Australians are now able to identify the most water efficient household shower and tapware, dishwashers, washing machines and toilet furniture over the internet. The WELS website is operated by the Water Efficiency and Labelling Standards Section of the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) and was developed by SRA Information Technology.

WELS is Australia's Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme, which requires manufacturers to register and label their products with a water efficiency rating in accordance with the national standard as set under the National Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005.

Over 14,000 different products are currently registered with the WELS database. Manufacturers, importers, retailers, builders, distributors and plumbers must register their WELS products in order to obtain the water efficiency rating. All registered products can be searched for on the WELS product search database.

Meeting the Challenge >>

The previous WELS Registration System that was developed and hosted by an organisation outside DEWHA did not meet the requirements of the WELS Section. A number of issues were identified in the database layer of the existing application.

  • The database being used had a very complex data structure.
  • There were no integrity rules to manage the quality of the data entered.
  • There were a number of orphan records in the database which had to be investigated and resolved.
  • DEWHA staff could not access real time reports and had to wait for weeks to get this information.


SRA Information Technology was selected by the Department to resolve these issues. The project included the following activities:

  • Redesigning the database with normalization principles applied to comply with industry standards and best practices.
  • Redeveloping the WELS Registration system to enhance its current functionality, usability and maintainability.
  • Migrate data from the existing database into a new Oracle database.

SRA staff also provided project management, user interface design, documentation and testing services to successfully complete the project.

Outstanding Features >>

The solution provided by SRA was a web-based application which allows access to different categories of users with different levels of access and functionality available to each category. Other features are:

  • It enables the general public to search, compare and evaluate products based on water efficiency rating, integrated features etc. before purchasing.
  • It shows real time calculation of water consumption over a given period of time for products.
  • Consumers can view and download product images and certificates.
  • Secure users can lodge applications to register their products under the WELS scheme and monitor the progress of their applications.
  • Administrators can receive applications, review, assess and register the products. An assessment workflow enables them to complete the registration process step-by-step and communicate with applicants when required.

Comprehensive Benefits >>

DEWHA estimates that by 2021, water efficient products will help to:

  • reduce domestic water use by more than 100,000 megalitres each year;
  • save more than 800,000 megalitres (more water than Sydney Harbour); and
  • reduce total greenhouse gas output by 400,000 tonnes each year - equivalent to taking 90,000 cars off the road each year.

Over one third of the water savings will come from more efficient showers, about 34 percent from washing machines and 23 percent from toilets and urinals.

Overall, Australians could save more than one billion dollars by 2021 through reduced water and energy bills by simply choosing more efficient products.

Leading Edge Technology >>

Open Source products were selected wherever possible; the only commercial product to be used was the Oracle database which was the platform mandated as the standard by the Department. In order to provide a layer of abstraction between the application code and the database, the Hibernate data abstraction layer was utilised; this would allow the data to be moved to a different database with minimal changes to the application code.

Other Open Source components selected were:

  • Apache Struts, a free and open source framework for creating Java web applications.
  • Apache Tiles, a templating framework built to simplify the development of web application user interfaces.
  • The display tag library, an open source suite of custom tags that provide high-level web presentation patterns.
  • JasperReports, a Java reporting library capable of producing PDF documents.

Further Information >>

Visit the public website at to find water efficient products. 

Case Studies

Find out how companies have utilised SRA's expertise to provide innovative solutions.

>> Case Studies By Industries

>> Case Studies by Solutions

 Download PDF