WIOA – Australian Water Industry Operator Certification Scheme

Attaining certified status under the WIOA Australian Water Industry Operator Certification Scheme indicates that an individual water treatment operator has a specific set of knowledge, skills, competence and experience which is recognised by the employer and the certifying body.

System Complexity Rating

Under the Certification Framework for Operators within Drinking Water Treatment Systems 2017, the complexity of each drinking water treatment system forms the basis for determining and defining the competency and capability required of the certified operator.

Two System Complexity Ratings have been established:


Will include drinking water systems where no treatment barriers are in place or where disinfection is the only treatment barrier. Fluoridation of water may occur at this level. Skills required by Certified Operators will typically involve chemical dosing, sampling and/or reporting.


Will include drinking water systems that have two or more treatment barriers in place. Fluoridation may also occur. Skills required by Certified Operators will typically involve monitoring, sampling, reporting, chemical dosing and control/optimisation of multiple conventional and/or advanced treatment processes.

Each System Complexity Rating requires certified operators to; complete a set of fit-for-purpose units of competency from the NWP aligned to the treatment processes operated, stipulates an amount of relevant industry experience, requires capability sign off by the employer and includes a requirement to keep skills and knowledge current.

Certification by an independent organisation like WIOA demonstrates that individual operators and the water supplier are committed to the water industry through their professionalism and the attainment of workplace best practice.

Certification for Operators

How do l become certified?

Your application cannot be processed unless all of the relevant information and supporting documentation is provided.

1 Apply

Complete the Application Form which includes personal information and Drinking Water Supplier (employer) information.

Payment of the Application Fee ($110 inc GST)*.

2 Training

Provide evidence of the satisfactory completion of accredited training under the nationally recognised Water Training Package (NWP).  Training completed must cover the fit for purpose units of competencies as identified in the System Complexity Rating completed by the Drinking Water Supplier.  Registered Training Organisations (RTO) are the only training providers that can supply the necessary documentation (called Statements of Attainment) that verify an applicant has met the training requirement to all certification.

The system complexity rating outlines the training requirements and Statement of Attainment would be required covering:

  • NWP units matching ALL plant processes operated
  • Mandatory NWP units as specified at the system complexity rating level

Each individual application must be supported by evidence of completion of accredited training such as Certificates, Statements of Attainment or official student records from an RTO.  All documentation supplied will be verified as an accurate copy by the Drinking Water Supplier and WIOA will undertake random audits of documentation supplied.

In accordance with the Framework, WIOA will only recognise accredited training completed in accordance with the National Water Training Package (NWP) or any subsequent version of the Training Package. Applicants with qualifications obtained from studies associated with training packages prior to NWP01 will be required to upgrade their qualification to meet the requirements of the current Water Training Package.

3 Workplace Evidence Report

Complete the Workplace Evidence Report that documents the applicants competence and experience (capability). The Workplace Evidence Report is signed off by the Drinking Water Supplier and must meet the requirements of the system as identified in the System Complexity Rating

4 WIOA Code of Conduct

Complete the WIOA Code of Conduct included in the Application Form

5 Application Processed

WIOA will process the application and may if necessary request more information or clarification. Once your application has been initially evaluated, you will be notified of the decision in writing within 21 days.

6 Certification Fee

When all the requirements of the WIOA Australian Water Industry Operator Certification Scheme are met, WIOA will notify both the applicant and the Drinking Water Supplier.

Payment of certification fee ($440 inc GST)*

7 Certification Awarded

Certification is valid for 5 years from the date of approval.

* Fees are non-refundable.
* Fees current at January 2016

Applications can be lodged by Email : info@wioa.org.au
WIOA Certification Team
P.O. Box 6012
Shepparton, Victoria 3630


Certified Operator

A Certified Operator has operational responsibility for water treatment processes or facilities. Duties performed will range from basic monitoring, sampling, testing and reporting, through to chemical dosing, control and optimisation of Treatment Processes.

The Certified Operator may have responsibility for more than one Drinking Water Treatment System at any one time, so long as it is reasonable to expect that drinking water quality and safety will be assured across all systems and the Certified Operator’s current competencies cover all treatment processes for which they are responsible.

Operator in Training

An Operator who is gaining experience under the guidance of a Certified Operator performing routine tasks and undertaking relevant competency development which culminates in attainment of relevant competencies (from NWP07), as required by the Certification Framework.

The Operator in Training is not certified under the Framework, but the Drinking Water Supplier is to ensure that opportunities are afforded to the person to develop all necessary competencies to achieve certified status.

Independent Contractors 

For the purposes of the Framework, an independent contractor may provide expertise and services to other Drinking Water Suppliers.

Independent Contractors are not considered to be Drinking Water Suppliers.  They are individuals (Certified Operators) who work within a Drinking Water System and must meet the minimum conditions stated in the Certification Framework

Maintaining Certification

Certified operators must attain and maintain competencies to ensure their skills remain relevant and keep pace with changes to treatment processes, technology and consumer / regulatory expectations.  The Framework has identified two potential pathways to allow certified operators to ensure their competencies and capabilities identified during initial certification remain current.

Recertification pathways include:

Professional Development

Certified Operators choose to recertify by participation in professional development activities.  Professional development does not just include training programs or conferences.

WIOA CPD Activities For Recertification (PDF)

Professional Development Categories for Maintaining Certification

Audit / Demonstration of Current Competence

The Drinking Water Supplier or the Certified Operator may elect to undertake a certification audit which shall be performed by an operationally competent person, who is independent and approved or nominated by the certifying body using an appropriate audit methodology/tool.  The certification audit will provide evidence that the competence of the Certified Operator is current and relevant to the tasks performed at a particular treatment facility.

Certification is valid for 5 years from the date of approval.

Certification for Drinking Water Suppliers

Drinking Water Treatment Systems – Suitably Qualified Persons

Water businesses are required to nominate one or more individuals to undertake the role of a “suitably qualified person”, this must be completed prior to any individual applications being submitted.

It is for the Drinking Water Supplier’s Chief Executive to determine an appropriate delegate, however as a guide it should be the most senior technical officer within the organisation with responsibility for drinking water treatment.

suitably qualified person is someone who has sufficient relevant theoretical experience and/or at least three years operational experience in the unit process such that they are able to assess the competency of others, and is required to:

  • Provide information on the Drinking Water Supplier’s processes
  • Act as the contact person for WIOA on Certification
  • Verify the applicants operating experience within their water business, including dates of employment
  • Endorse that the operator seeking certification is suitably competent for certification

All individuals must be signed off as being competent by a suitably qualified person and WIOA will maintain a register of all suitably qualified persons, that will be updated on an annual basis.

Application Form to be a Suitably Qualified Person to be completed by the Water Businesses Operations Manager or equivalent.

Application form to be a Suitably Qualified Person (Word)

Application form to be a Suitably Qualified Person (PDF)

Australian Water Industry Operator Certification Scheme – Forms