WIOA – Water Industry Operator Certification Scheme

Proposed Changes to the Operator Certification Framework

The national Drinking Water Operator Certification Framework was originally developed in 2012, and Certification was the adopted name as it most accurately reflected the agreed need of the water industry at the time.

Since then, there has been growing confusion over the use of the term Certification. Many individuals hold a Certificate II or III, but that doesn’t mean they are, or can be, “Certified” under the Framework. Certification actually requires operators to have all the units of competency relevant to the specific treatment processes they operate, and a commitment to an ongoing skills development program.

Following a Certification Taskforce meeting earlier this month, draft amendments have been made to the Framework to reflect proposed name changes:

  • Water Industry Operator Registration Framework 2021;
  • Water Industry Operator Registration Taskforce (WIORT);
  • Registering Body in lieu of Certifying Body; and
  • Registered Professional Operator to replace Certified Operator.

Operators “Certified” under former Frameworks will be automatically recognised as “Registered Professional Operators” under the conditions of this Framework, provided the conditions of previous Framework versions, including timeframes, remain met.

The only other amendments include revised listings of units of competency to reflect updates to the National Water Training Package (NWP).

If you have any feedback you’d like to provide on the amendments, please submit to dcameron@qldwater.com.au by 5 pm 20 August 2021.

WIOA is the National certifying body in Australia

Certification provides an assurance to regulators, communities and the users of drinking water and recycled water that Operators are competent to manage drinking water, wastewater and/or recycled water quality, as well as being capable of identifying and responding to drinking water, wastewater and/or recycled water quality risks and incidents.

Attaining certified status indicates that an individual operator has a specific set of knowledge, skills, competence and experience which is recognised by the employer and the certifying body.

The actions of Operators who treat water, wastewater and recycled water have a direct impact on its quality and, consequently, may impact environmental and public health risks.


Acuario is a web-accessible solution to administer the national certification scheme.

Certified individuals are skilled and committed water industry operations practitioner. Their status as a Certified Water Treatment Operator demonstrates their commitment to excellence by participating in a process to assess and update their knowledge. They can be confident that they are doing the job to meet best practice and this can bring advancement and recognition.

Certified Water Treatment Operators also benefit a range of other stakeholders in the water industry:

Certification for Operators

How do l become certified?

Applications 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 Supplier/Authority (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 Supplier/Authority.  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 Supplier/Authority 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 applicant’s competence and experience (capability). The Workplace Evidence Report is signed off by the Supplier/Authority 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 Water Industry Operator Certification Scheme are met, WIOA will notify both the applicant and the Supplier/Authority.

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 and are current as at January 2020.

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

Certification for Drinking Water Suppliers, Wastewater Authorities or Recycled Water Suppliers

Suitably Qualified Persons

Drinking Water Suppliers, Wastewater Authorities or Recycled Water Suppliers 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 Supplier’s Chief Executive to determine an appropriate delegate, however, as a guide, it should be the most senior responsible technical officer within the organisation.

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 supplier/authority processes
  • Act as the contact person for WIOA on Certification
  • Verify the applicants operating experience within their 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 Business/Authority Operations Manager or equivalent.

Application form to be a Suitably Qualified Person (Word)

Application form to be a Suitably Qualified Person (PDF)

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. Two potential pathways allow certified operators to ensure their competencies and capabilities identified during initial certification remain current. Re-certification pathways include:

1 Professional Development

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

Professional Development Categories for Maintaining Certification

2 Audit / Demonstration of Current Competence

The Drinking Water Supplier, or Wastewater Authority or Recycled Water Supplier or the Certified Operator may elect to undertake a Certification audit within three (3) months of the expiry of their Certification. The Certification audit shall be performed by an operationally competent person, who is independent of the Drinking Water Supplier, Wastewater Authority or Recycled Water Supplier, and who is approved or nominated by the Certifying Body. The Certification audit will be undertaken using an appropriate audit methodology/tool.

Eligibility & Appeals

Certification Woman

System Complexity Rating

The complexity of each treatment system forms the basis for determining and defining the competency and capability required of the certified operator.