Thousands of drinking water dispensers in use in Australia today don't meet the requirements of the mandated plumbing codes. Though people are aware of the need for WCs and tapware to be WaterMark certified, many are ignorant about similar code compliance requirements for bubblers, coolers and water fountains.
This lack of awareness has led to an enormous number of beverage dispensers in the market that may not be safe in terms of design or material used.
This situation can be attributed to several reasons. Being a developed country with comprehensive standards and laws, it’s taken for granted that any product sold in Australia is probably code compliant. The Australian water dispenser market was a niche segment and suppliers didn’t feel the need to offer a wide range when the opportunity was so small.
A third reason is that beverage dispensers aren’t required to comply with WELS [Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (AS/NZS 6400)]. Being a low flow-rate product, it’s sensible to exclude them from WELS as they're already water efficient. However, this has been erroneously interpreted by specifiers to mean that drinking water dispensers are also excluded from WaterMark certification.
Drinking water dispenser manufacturers now have the incentive to move towards compliance, and not only due to industry groups espousing its merits. Greater public awareness of health risks associated with sugary drinks has increased the demand for bottle refill stations, which means manufacturers have a bigger market now.
As Australians become more cognisant of healthy living, fresh drinking water will need to be made available in the community, especially in schools and universities.
RBA Group advises all Australians to specifically ask for a WaterMark product when buying their next drinking water station. A WaterMark product is not only required by code, but will also address the growing public demand for code compliant dispensers. Additionally, the buyer can choose from a wide range of compliant dispensers.
RBA Group offers a comprehensive range of drinking water fountains and water coolers.