Suitable Groundwater Management: Equity in the North Carolina Central Coastal Plain , U.S.A.

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Wendy A. Klein (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:

Abstract: The purpose of this research is to assess the success of a regulation based on aquifer conditions , while testing a new approach for groundwater assessment and management that incorporates equity. Equity is often synonymous with fairness. By assessing the success of a pre-existing regulation and applying equity to a new approach to management creation , water resources are viewed as a multi-faceted , interconnected system. Citing concerns of falling water levels , low well yields and salt water intrusion in the Cretaceous aquifers of eastern North Carolina , the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality enacted a protective and rigorous management strategy. The strategy , based on observed water levels , adopted a single dimensional approach to address aquifer protection. Many stakeholders deemed this approach as an unfair and inequitable strategy that did not consider the multiple , often conflicting criteria involved with managing a shared natural resource. The perceived lack of equity created conflict and opposition to collaborative efforts to sustain the Cretaceous aquifers. Moving beyond the traditional groundwater management concepts of safe yield , sustainability , and resilience , this research incorporates equity into the evaluation , allocation and management of groundwater systems. Using the CCPCUA in eastern North Carolina , U.S.A. as a case study , an equitable groundwater management approach is assessed. Although many natural resource researchers recognize the value equity , the literature lacks a framework for groundwater equity. This research begins by exploring basic equity concepts and proposing an equity framework that is applicable for management. By applying social-psychological and socio-legal concepts , the research explores how equity can contribute to acceptable policy creation. Lastly , the research explores a multi-criteria decision analysis tool , Suitability Analysis , which identifies areas most suitable to withstand changes in management strategies. This allows for a comparison of the results of a management strategy based on the physical conditions of an aquifer to one based on equity. The research suggests that an approach to groundwater management based on equity criteria can: 1) contribute to policy development and policy strategies that stakeholders find transparent and acceptable , and 2) identify specific areas of suitability and vulnerability to changes in groundwater withdrawals. Thus , the inclusion of equity not only provides a framework for creating adaptive groundwater management strategies but contributes to sustainable aquifers and societies. This solution features early stakeholder involvement and multi-criteria assessments of the resource.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Equity, Multi-criteria Decision Analysis, Stakeholder Engagement, Cretaceous Aquifers

Email this document to

This item references:

TitleLocation & LinkType of Relationship
Suitable Groundwater Management: Equity in the North Carolina Central Coastal Plain , U.S.A. described resource references, cites, or otherwise points to the related resource.