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”
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.”