COSUCRA, Belgian producer of pea protein and chicory root fibre and SWDE, Walloon leader in the production and distribution of drinking water, have signed a long-term partnership to enable the growth of the Belgian family business while ensuring sustainable environmental management through the rational use of water resources in the Tournai area.
Established in Warcoing in Western Wallonia since 1852, COSUCRA was originally active in sugar production. Over the past twenty years, the group has undergone a profound transformation to become a cutting-edge company in the production of natural ingredients from chicory and peas.
Today, COSUCRA employs more than 300 people in Belgium and markets its ingredients throughout the world in the food& Beverage and health-nutrition sectors.
To meet a constantly growing global demand, the Belgian company is commited to increase its production in the coming years.
Despite COSUCRA’s continuous strive to reduce water usage, the sharp increase of its activities should generate an additional need of drinkable water.
Today, Coscura is supplied with water mainly via the Scheldt river and through underground water well.
Reconciling economic growth and sustainable resource management
Based in Warcoing in Western Wallonia, COSUCRA is situated on the carboniferous limestone groundwater table which extends from Namur to Lille.
The level of this table has been reducing since 1910 and reached a critical threshold at the end of the last century. In this context, in 1995, Wallonia, Flanders and France committed together to reduce their water intakes from the table, as the equivalent volumes were supplied by the Transhennuyère complex at Gaurain-Ramecroix, built on this occasion and operated by SWDE.
The Transhennuyère recycles into drinking water millions of m3 of water that is discharged by the very active mining industry in the region. These large volumes
were previously released into the Scheldt.
Since the implementation of this system, we have seen a gradual rise in the carboniferous limestone groundwater table. This must nevertheless be monitored. It is still far from having reached its historical levels again.
COSUCRA’s water needs will be covered by the TRANSHENNUYERE complex
With a shared desire to contribute to sustainable water resource management, COSUCRA has decided to obtain its water supplies from SWDE from 2024.
The Agreement extends over the next 25 years.
SWDE will perform the necessary work to enable COSUCRA’s installations to be connected to the water supplies that carry the water produced at the Transhennuyère.
From 2024, SWDE will be able to supply the necessary water to the company. This capacity will gradually increase from 2026, enabling COSUCRA to reduce and then stop its direct intake from the groundwater table, while at the same time, the additional volumes of mine water from the quarries will be recycled. It will also enable the Warcoing company to refocus on its core business by stopping the purification of water that it drew from the Scheldt.
COSUCRA will then alone account for 2% of the volumes distributed by SWDE in the Walloon Region.
This agreement will therefore necessarily have a positive impact on the profitability of SWDE’s existing infrastructure and future investment in Western Hainaut and will therefore contribute to the efforts deployed by the Company to control its operating costs in order to maintain water bills at a reasonable level.
For Eric Van Sevenant, Chairman of the SWDE Executive Committee,
“In the collective effort necessary to achieve the sustainable management of our water resources, this agreement is exemplary. It emphasizes the responsibility and role that private stakeholders can play in the matter and bears witness to distribution companies’ capacity for adaptation and innovation in taking into account companies’ economic needs. SWDE is proud to be able to contribute in this way to the development of a Walloon company and global leader in its sector.”
For COSUCRA, the benefits are just as positive. Not only will this partnership enable the company to secure its water supply, it will also provide quality water
from sustainable management. And this is precisely one of the commitments that COSUCRA has made for 2030: sustainable water management in its production
Jacques Crahay, COSUCRA CEO says: “Our ingredient extraction activities require a lot of food quality water. Continuing to draw from the limestone groundwater table is not a sustainable option for us, unlike the use of surface water which was a realistic solution. We chose SWDE’s proposal because it seemed more secure and better suited to the use of the resource, according to the UN Sustainable Development Goal criteria. And we will of course continue to try and reduce our water consumption over the next 25 years!”
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