New Water Management contract in the Dunkirk Locality: aiming high for service quality and local inhabitants

On Friday 8 December, Bertrand Ringot, President of the Syndicat de l’Eau du Dunkerquois (Dunkirk’s Water Syndicate)1 and Bertrand Camus, CEO Water France at SUEZ signed a new water management contract for the Dunkirk locality. The 12-year contract will come into effect in January 2018.

A high-level water service

Thanks to committed efforts made over many years, Dunkirk’s operational and technical performance is excellent: 92% network efficiency, all lead connections replaced, over a million cubic metres of drinking water saved.

Tomorrow, smart tools will help protect water as a resource even more effectively. The water network will be equipped with sensors to ensure leaks are detected more quickly and more precisely, reducing water loss. The performance of the 13 drillings that supply the locality will be monitored in real time to improve resource management.

Bertrand Ringot pointed out that, “Dunkirk is not like other localities. We do not have water beneath our feet. We are committed to saving this precious resource that we have to bring in from the Audomarois reserve, 40 kilometres away. We have pledged to do this and we have done it. Tomorrow, we will continue our work.

A water service that focuses on local inhabitants

Since 2012, the Syndicat de l’Eau du Dunkerquois has made its users a priority, introducing for example an annual statistical survey to measure how their needs are changing. The new contract strenghthens this commitment.

For example, water rates are the lowest in the whole department with a special rate for the most vulnerable households. Through a partnership with La Poste, three extra customer service points will be opening in the locality, with the objective to bring the water service closer to people’s homes. Improving the power purchase is also a key focus, with a pledge to enable every household to make savings.

Taking action for the locality and helping to meet its challenges

Aware that employment is a major challenge in the Dunkirk locality, SUEZ is committed to boosting local jobs. For the last ten years, SUEZ has joined up with GRETA2 to offer skills training for the French CAP vocational qualification in pipeline construction. Every year, about ten young graduates take part in this training course. SUEZ Hauts de France Customer Relations Department (based in Dunkirk) has decided to build on this success by offering a second course in remote customer services.

SUEZ also actively supports many local initiatives, such as the recently created Fondation du Dunkerquois Solidaire pour l’emploi (Dunkirk Employment Solidarity Foundation), as well as “the Second Chance School” and local job centre, both of which are supported by a skills-based sponsorship programme.

The new contract is a concrete example of the high level of service the Syndicat de l’Eau du Dunkerquois aims to offer its 100,000 users. With its operational excellence, its commitment to protecting water as a resource and the consideration it pays its inhabitants, the Dunkirk locality will continue to be held up as an example within French localities.

1 Dunkirk’s Water Syndicate covers 23 municipalities: Armbouts-Cappel, Bergues, Bourbourg, Bray-Dunes, Cappelle-la-Grande, Coudekerque-Branche, Craywick, Dunkirk, Ghyvelde, Grande-Synthe, Grand-Fort-Philippe, Gravelines, Holque, Hoymille, Leffrinckoucke, Looberghe, Loon-Plage, Saint-Georges-sur l’Aa, Spycker, Téteghem-Coudekerque-Village, Uxem, Watten and Zuydcoote.

2 In France, a Greta is a consortium of local public educational institutions that consolidate their human and material resources to offer lifelong learning courses for adults.