Choosing water efficient products

This page provides information on New Zealand water efficiency labelling for consumers wanting to buy a new water-using product.

What is water efficiency labelling about?

The New Zealand water efficiency label provides information on a product’s water consumption and efficiency to help you choose products that use less water.

Why choose water efficient products?

Many factors influence your decision when buying a new product, such as cost, brand, performance, recommendations, and past experience. Saving water should also be a deciding factor in determining the type of product you buy. It’s a one-time purchase that will have an ongoing effect on your water use for years.

Using water more efficiently has both economic and environmental benefits

Saving water can save you money

Conserving water can reduce your water charges if you live in an area that uses water meters. Even if you aren’t on metered water you are paying for water through your rates. The more pressure we collectively put on our water supply systems, the more money our local councils will have to spend maintaining and enhancing their water supply networks. That costs everyone in the long run. Choosing a product that uses less heated water will also help to reduce your energy bills.

Saving water is better for the environment

It’s important not to waste water. Our lakes and rivers are feeling the pressure of a growing population and changes in the way we use water. There are shortages in some areas at certain times of the year. Climate change is predicted to affect rainfall patterns, which may increase pressures on freshwater quantity and flows.

Water efficiency labelling applies to the following product types:


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What do the labels look like?

Water efficiency labels display two key pieces of information:

Water rating

Water efficiency labels on showers and taps also indicate the water pressure system they are intended for. That’s because the water efficiency rating of showers and taps depends on whether they were designed for use in mains pressure systems or for use in areas of low or unequal pressure.

In some instances you may see a text alternative to the label, especially if the product is too small to carry a label.

Where and when are the labels displayed?

Water efficiency labels are only displayed on new products, not second-hand products.

Labels (or a text alternative) must be displayed at point of sale (either physically displayed in store, or available online for Internet shopping).

For more information on labelling requirements for businesses see A suppliers’ guide to the New Zealand Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme

How much water could I save?

How much water you’ll save will depend on the rating of the product you choose to buy, and the rating of the product that you’re replacing.

For example:

For an 8kg washing machine, switching from a 3 star machine to a 4.5 star machine could save around 49 litres per wash. That means if you do 5 loads per week you could save around 14,000 litres per year – that’s 140 bath-tubs full.



Switching from a 3 star to a 4 star shower head could save up to 4.5 litres per minute. If you have an eight minute shower every day, that’s a saving of more than 13,000 litres per person over a year – 130 bath-tubs. 



Of course it’s not just about what you buy, but also how you use it.

For example:

  • Washing machines and dishwashers will often have an “eco” setting, which uses less water than other settings. Check your appliance’s instruction manual to find out about which settings are best to use.

  • No matter what star rating your tap or showerhead is, you’ll save more water if it’s not running as long. Reducing your shower time, and doing things like turning off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth, will save water too.

Zero star rated labelHow do you know it really is efficient?

You can rely on the water efficiency labelling to give you accurate information. The Australia/New Zealand Standard for Water efficient products – Rating and labelling AS/NZS 6400 sets out the product tests that must be performed to determine the information for the water efficiency label.

The Standard also requires performance tests, so that products tested for water efficiency will also be tested for functionality.

A product can still be sold in New Zealand if it fails any of the tests, but it must carry a zero-star-rated water efficiency label.