What is WaterVal

Australia is recognised internationally for its water quality management guidelines that identify treatment technology validation as integral to effective water management.


Responding to the Australian water sector’s request for more cost-effective application of technologies, the now-defunct Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence, working alongside regulators, water utilities and the private sector, developed a way to achieve national consistency in the validation of treatment technologies as part of the Australian Government-funded NatVal program.

This validation framework – WaterVal – is underpinned by Validation Protocols, which are independently developed and agreed methodologies to assess pathogen removal using water treatment technologies. The framework and protocols are applicable to a broad range of water sources and complement the objectives of the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling and the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. The WaterVal protocols were transferred to Water Research Australia in 2018.

WaterVal is not a new, additional layer of regulation or guidelines. States and territories are responsible for scheme approval and assessment of acceptable validation requirements. WaterVal simply provides a process by which jurisdictions can collaborate to develop and agree on consistent approaches to and requirements for validation of technologies used. States and territories can then implement the approaches and requirements through their own legislation and regulations.

The Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) and the Australian Guidelines for Water Recycling (AGWR) are based on the principle of preventive risk management. Health and environmental risk-based targets are used to calculate the “performance targets” for treatment schemes which define the minimum performance that must be achieved by the treatment process and preventive measures. The guidelines recommend treatment processes to be validated. The guidelines describe the concept of and need for validation and refer to published validation guidelines such as WaterVal and USEPA.

Adding value to Australia’s water industry

An independent cost-benefit analysis evaluating the implementation of the WaterVal approach to validation in Australia concluded that the framework has broad applicability across various technologies, including those utilised for treating water from surface storages, aquifers, recycled water, and stormwater. The analysis further revealed potential future savings of up to $80 million for the water recycling sector alone upon national implementation.

For more see:

Road Map for a National Validation Framework
National Validation Framework – Business Case

Validation Framework

WaterVal benefits are delivered through an integrated management framework, including scheme proponents, independent assessors/consultants, the WaterVal Administrator and state regulators.

The 9 Elements

Based on national and international best practice, and backed by rigorous scientific research, each WaterVal protocol has been designed to include nine elements of validation, ensuring consistency and uniformity for users.

Current Protocols

There are currently five validation protocols which have been developed through WaterVal. They are grounded in the latest research findings and industry best practice. The protocols are freely available to the water industry.


The WaterVal resources are extensive and encompass both historic and current documentation, including research findings. All resources are freely available to water industry professionals around the world.

More Information

Dr Marty Hancock | Research Manager | marty.hancock@waterra.com.au