A new national water conservation program run by the Water Services Association of Australia that is aimed at helped consumers choose water-efficient clothes washers has proved to be flawed according to appliance supplier Omega Appliances .

The scheme carries ratings from A for moderately water-efficient appliances to AAAAA for excellent water efficiency with the ratings displayed on labels attached to appliance on retail display.

However Andrew Cronin, general manager of Omega Appliances, claims the water-efficiency labelling scheme is both inconsistent and misleading. “A front-loading machine that uses a mere 49L of water for a 5.5kg wash with two rinses gains a AAAA rating under this scheme,” he says. “Meanwhile a top-loading machine that uses 190L for the same wash is also rated AAAA - that’s a massive 141L difference.

“Add to this the fact that a machine using 46L of water for a standard wash receives AAAAA and yet a machine using only two litres more receives AAAA (one A less) and the inconsistencies of the scheme become immediately apparent.”

Washing machine manufacturers and suppliers are also being highly ‘creative’ in how they submit their appliance’s specifications, according to Omega. “Some suppliers are reducing water consumption on paper by including only one rinse or basing figures on a special wash program that in reality would hardly ever be used by a consumer,” says Cronin. “In order for the scheme to work and genuinely contribute to the country’s responsible management of its limited water supply, the labels need to give an unambiguous indication of water usage based on a clear set of regulations, ie normal wash and two standard rinses. This way we can all play a part in the efficient management of one of our most precious resources and the consumer is not being mislead.”

Source: Building Products News.