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. The aim is to develop a rounded understanding of the shared water challenges and collective action opportunities for the catchment.

The WRSA is a public facing process and document, led by a credible third party in consultation with stakeholders in the catchment area where an asset operates, designed to:

  • Identify and document regional shared water challenges, their root cause, shared vision and collective action opportunities within the asset’s regional area of influence, based on publicly available information and stakeholder input. 
  • Establish and/or strengthen relationships and trust between stakeholders and stakeholder groups that can support an ongoing exchange on critical information over time, on shared water challenges within the asset’s regional area of influence as well as on solutions to improve water management and increase resilience.

The WRSA process

The WRSA development is led by a credible third party that has a track record in social research and stakeholder engagement for water resources. This process includes gathering information pertaining to the sustainability of the water resource taking into consideration the social stresses on the water resource, climate change projections, the state of water infrastructure, water access, sanitation and hygiene of local communities; the extent of vegetation, runoff, and any conservation of the area; cultural knowledge; and issues in relation to the water environment and external water governance arrangements and their effectiveness. The third party then analyses the information to form a view on what the shared water challenges are for the catchment.

The third party then verifies the desktop collation of shared water challenges by engaging stakeholders that represent views or perspectives on a broad range of common interest matters to gather their insights on shared water challenges and their root causes, what a shared vision for the catchment might be and what opportunities might exist for collaboration to overcome the challenges to achieve that shared vision. Stakeholders include those that contribute knowledge and understanding in the catchment, are potentially impacted or those that can offer solutions. Stakeholder participation is voluntary, with no obligation on the part of the stakeholder to be available and/or participate and the engagement is conducted independently of any other stakeholder engagement processes that may be initiated by or on behalf of BHP.

Indigenous Peoples and water

We recognise that the current WRSAs may not adequately represent the views of Indigenous Peoples, due to the limitations of the scope of the WRSA process in effectively understanding and reflecting the culturally intrinsic relationships that Indigenous Peoples hold with water related to Indigenous cultural heritage, traditions and lore.

Aligned with our 2030 goals, we are working to understand how Indigenous Peoples want to be engaged on matters of water and the broader environment in relation to each of our operated asset regions.  

Consistent and meaningful dialogue with Indigenous Peoples, on whose traditional lands we operate, will improve BHP’s understanding of Indigenous values for water and the broader environment, and allow for more opportunities to work together to co-design relevant environmental management activities. 

It is intended that increased understanding of Indigenous Peoples’ values, knowledge and perspectives, will lead to environmental management approaches that respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples and are more considerate of their interests regarding environmental stewardship and custodianship.

In a manner consistent with BHP’s Indigenous Peoples Policy Statement, we will utilise and build on existing mechanisms to seek feedback and views.  We have the further aspiration of embedding a process for building a shared understanding which will be co designed and, as far as practicable, not time bound, to allow for meaningful engagement over the long term.

We will be proactive in seeking opportunities to support Indigenous groups to collect, store and share their water and environmental knowledge

The Product

The end product of this initial process is a publicly available document which intends to contribute to collective water management. A key part of the initial process and publication of its results is to identify priorities for action, review existing mechanisms, or identify new platforms that can be put in place to guide improvements in collective water stewardship across the region of each WRSA.

Each WRSA contributes to a much longer journey that is subject to changing landscapes and stakeholder priorities. It is one step that supports wider collective action around management of key catchment issues identified within the regions where BHP operates.

The shared challenges, root causes and collective action opportunities identified during the WRSA, alongside internal catchment risk assessments, will help BHP set CBWTs that can contribute to addressing those shared water challenges for catchments in the regions where we operate.

Ongoing updates to the WRSA’s will be communicated via this webpage.

The Water Resource Situational Analyses (WRSAs) for the Chile region were prepared by CSIRO Chile using public-domain information about the views that stakeholders have on the water resources of these regions.  Future work is planned to consult directly with local stakeholders to validate and update the WRSAs.