We are often asked by Landlords and Tenants who is responsible for the payment of water usage. Landlords are able to pass on the full cost of water consumption, provided:

  • the rental premises are individually metered, and

  • The rental premises are water efficient, and

  • the tenancy agreement states the tenant must pay for water consumption

There is no legal requirement for a water efficiency certificate from a plumber although it is recommended best practice to provide evidence to the tenant should there is a dispute about the property being water efficient.

Water Efficiency Requirements

  • TOILETS – As rated under the Water Efficiency and Labelling Standards scheme (WELS), toilets should have a minimum 4-star dual flush.

  • SHOWERHEADS – minimum 3-star WELS rated showerheads.

  • TAPWARE – minimum 3-star WELS rated for kitchen sinks, basins and laundry troughs.


On 1 March 2009, the new requirements for water efficiency on houses and units commenced and applied nationwide. The requirements apply to all new houses, units, townhouses, as well as the existing ones. They are expected to comply with the requirements when installing an irrigation system at any time.

Not only can you save water by installing water efficient fixtures and fittings, but it can also cut down your ongoing water bills. With the rise of Queensland’s population, water conservation is very essential, given the fact that rainfall conditions can be highly variable. The purpose of these requirements is to assist in reducing the demand on our water resources and infrastructure.

Now, how do the water efficiency requirements apply to existing houses, townhouses and units? It applies when you are renovating or extending where building and plumbing approval is required. Toilets should be upgraded to 4-star WELS rating and showerheads should be upgraded to a 3-star WELS rating.

As for the tapware, it is required to be a minimum 3-star WELs rated. This only applies when adding an extension in an existing house. There is no requirement to upgrade any existing tapware in the dwelling, however.

For existing houses, townhouses or units with garden irrigations installed or replaced, the Queensland Plumbing and Wastewater Code provisions apply.

You can install the shower heads yourself, however, you must hire a licensed plumber to install the toilets and tapware.

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