A re­newed ap­proach

We’ve also im­ple­mented rain water plants across many com­mu­ni­ties... We have to try and re­tain water for longer and reuse it wher­ever pos­si­ble”

EME Outlook - - Water- L I Nk -

The im­ple­men­ta­tion of in­no­va­tive sys­tems, how­ever, is just one as­pect of water-link’s atyp­i­cal ap­proach to util­i­ties.

An in­dus­try that has of­ten been de­fined by di­vi­sion and com­pe­ti­tion, water-link has chal­lenged this sta­tus quo as a lead­ing ad­vo­cate of co­op­er­a­tion and multi-util­ity unity.

This in mind, the com­pany has been fun­da­men­tal to the devel­op­ment of a col­lab­o­ra­tive plat­form that has be­come cru­cial to the mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment, pro­vid­ing an out­look of util­ity de­mands from which over­rid­ing strate­gies can be calculated.

“This multi-util­ity soft­ware that in­cludes not only water providers but equally gas, elec­tric­ity and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions play­ers is a revo­lu­tion­ary tool, and one we’re par­tic­u­larly proud to be in­volved with,” Cosaert re­veals. “In the cur­rent day and age, we feel co­op­er­a­tion is no longer a lux­ury but a ne­ces­sity.

“The con­se­quences of cli­mate change are clear to see – 2018 was a record dry year and 2019 is al­ready ab­nor­mal – and so it is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant that we col­lec­tively im­ple­ment the right so­lu­tions in or­der to safe­guard our ac­cess to clean water.”

This out­look has sim­i­larly seen water-link de­vel­op­ing a range of smart part­ner­ships such as its col­lab­o­ra­tion with Pidpa, a fel­low Antwerp-based water sup­plier.

“This has be­come a cru­cial part of our strat­egy,” Cosaert re­veals. “In re­gard to the Pidpa part­ner­ship in par­tic­u­lar, we’re ex­pect­ing to have a tri­an­gu­lar pro­duc­tion setup in place be­tween our north­ern site, south­ern site and Pidpa’s own sites, op­er­a­tional by 2022.

“We’ve also im­ple­mented rain water plans across many com­mu­ni­ties,” he adds. “We have to try and re­tain water for longer and reuse it wher­ever pos­si­ble.”

A pi­o­neer of change

A true pi­o­neer of sus­tain­abil­ity, water- link has suc­cess­fully es­tab­lished it­self as a pre­ferred em­ployer, at­tract­ing

as­pi­ra­tional peo­ple to the com­pany as a re­sult of its so­cially re­spon­si­ble prac­tices.

“There are good em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in Antwerp,” states Cosaert. “Young peo­ple have a lot of choice, yet we of­ten see promis­ing in­di­vid­u­als join­ing us be­cause of the in­no­va­tion and sus­tain­abil­ity as­pects that our busi­ness of­fers in the way of op­por­tu­nity.

“It’s an in­dus­try where you can make a real dif­fer­ence.”

Fur­ther, the firm ac­tively en­cour­ages em­ployee in­volve­ment in the aim of not only de­vel­op­ing tech­ni­cal and soft skills, but equally in or­der to al­low its es­teemed staffing pool to be an in­ter­nal source of cre­ativ­ity and in­no­va­tion.

“We in­vest around €900,000 each year in ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing alone in or­der to pro­vide a pro­gres­sive plat­form to our peo­ple,” Cosaert con­tin­ues. “water-link also col­lab­o­rates with the Univer­sity of Antwerp, read­ily pro­vid­ing both cur­rent stu­dents and grad­u­ates with an abun­dance of op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

Look­ing ahead to 2020, water-link will re­main driven by the con­sol­i­da­tion of its po­si­tion as a trend­set­ter, pre­ferred part­ner and pre­ferred em­ployer, while the busi­ness will fur­ther ex­pand into new ar­eas, em­pha­sis­ing any­thing from sub­stan­ti­ated CSR to pro­found tech de­vel­op­ments, re­tain­ing its sta­tus as a pi­o­neer of change.

Cosaert con­cludes: “Here at water- link we are ready to play our role in chang­ing the water landscape of Flan­ders.”

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