Councils work with national waterwise label

Friday, 26 March, 2010

Now with widespread federal and state government support and good recognition of water conservation issues at the consumer level, Australia’s independent national outdoor water-saving label, Smart Approved WaterMark, is seeking greater involvement from local government in water-saving programs.

Four years since initial endorsement by the Environment Protection and Heritage Council (which includes environment ministers from the Australian government, states and territories), Smart WaterMark is now utilised as the independent adjudicator when it comes to water saving around Australia.

The CEO of Smart Approved WaterMark, Julian Gray, said over the past two years various memorandums of understanding have been drawn up with water utilities across Australia linking Smart WaterMark to their water-saving policies and programs and rebate requirements.

The fourth annual Smart WaterMark consumer newspoll reveals that even though the ‘extremely serious’ and ‘very serious’ concerns over the water situation combined have dropped from over 80% in 2006 to around 60% in 2009, more than 90% of respondents in the five capital cities surveyed still think the situation is at least somewhat serious.

“This is good news and shows that the water conservation campaigns conducted by utilities, state and local governments are maintaining a level of concern about water use in our cities,” said Gray.

“But we still need to get more positive action from the public and the Smart WaterMark is providing a simple reference for them in their choices when it comes to saving water.”

Smart Approved WaterMark was established as a national not-for-profit scheme to provide independent professional assessment of product and service water-saving claims. Supported by the Australian government's Water for the Future - Water Smart Australia program, it is the sister scheme to the Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme for indoor products.

The label can be found on water-saving products for the home, garden and pool along with commercial and industrial appliances, from irrigation, rainwater harvesting and greywater systems through to cleaning systems and pool covers and filters.

“The NSW, Qld, Vic and WA governments have written Smart WaterMark into sustainability and water policies and governments are using Smart WaterMark in demand management programs such as the H2OME programs in Victoria and South Australia,” said Gray.

Programs from Sydney Water, Water Corporation in WA and Queensland Water Commission have been approved by the Smart WaterMark independent Technical Expert Panel.

The Manager for Residential Water Efficiency Projects with the Water Corporation in WA, John Brennan, said that before any product was considered for inclusion in the Waterwise Rebate program it must be first endorsed with the Smart WaterMark.

“In all training for Waterwise plumbers and Waterwise garden irrigation installers, products with the label are recommended and promoted. The corporation knows that because of the independent Smart WaterMark approval process we can recommend all products with the logo to our customers,” said Brennan.

As part of the community communications program, a comprehensive website has been developed by Smart WaterMark providing a host of water-saving information, including links to rebates across states and local government areas, a complete list of approved products and unique water- and energy-saving calculators.

“We know consumers are looking for independent advice in a sea of ‘waterwise’ labelling. We are pleased so many councils already link to our site to help their community know with confidence that what they buy or use has been proven to save water,” added Gray.

The Smart WaterMark consumer website is at www.smartwatermark.org and for further information email info@smartwatermark.info.

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