Shared water challenges

Working together on water challenges in the regions where we operate.

BHP released its Water Stewardship Position Statement  in FY2019, which outlines our vision for a water secure world by 2030, an aim consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


In our Position Statement, we commit to set public, context-based business level targets for our operated assets to both improve our management of water and support shared challenges. This commitment aims to ensure water resources are conserved and resilient so they can continue to support healthy ecosystems, maintain cultural and spiritual values and sustain economic activity.

A key step in this commitment is to complete a Water Resource Situational Analysis (WRSA) in relation to each of our operating assets to understand the water challenges within our regions. These WRSAs, alongside internal catchment risk assessments, will inform the setting of our context-based water targets (CBWTs).

What is a Water Resource Situational Analysis (WRSA)? 

A Water Resource Situational Analysis (WRSA) is a holistic assessment and summary of the sustainability, governance, and social, cultural, spiritual, environment and economic values of water (fresh or marine) within a defined catchment area.

Catchment risks

Each of our operated assets has identified and assessed risks (both threats and opportunities) within the catchments where we operate.

Water is a blue thread connecting our operations to the people and environments around them. We have assessed risks (both threats and opportunities) that could arise from our water-related interactions and use this information to improve our management. For example, this information may lead us to improve our understanding of hydrogeology or stakeholder values within a catchment, or to change our water management practices to address a potential environmental impact. This understanding has also been used to inform the setting of our CBWTs.

Refer to the Water page for more information on the water-related risks our operated assets manage, and the BHP Operating and Financial Review, 9 – How we manage risk for more on BHP’s Risk Framework.

Context-Based Water Targets

Targets that aim to address the shared challenges and opportunities within the catchments where we operate.

Water challenges are not the same everywhere. They may take many forms and include factors like variable rainfall, threatened cultural values, flooding and the risk of declining water availability due to climate change. Water challenges are also typically shared by many stakeholders in a region, so common understanding and collaboration are needed to improve water management and increase the resilience of the environment, society and operations like ours.

We use internal catchment risk assessments and WRSA to help understand BHP’s direct water interactions and the common perspectives and priorities in our operating regions. This helps us to set context-based water targets (CBWTs), which aim to both improve BHP’s water management and to contribute to solving shared challenges for the catchments in which we operate.

We have contributed to the publication of a white paper to share our approach and stimulate discussion on how to set effective water targets.