Groundwater governance in Newfoundland: using the functional resource analysis method to understand groundwater resource management at the municipal level

Fracassi, Julia (2023) Groundwater governance in Newfoundland: using the functional resource analysis method to understand groundwater resource management at the municipal level. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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While municipalities in Newfoundland are responsible for managing their water supplies and natural assets, many lack the capacity and resources to do so. Effective groundwater management is becoming increasingly difficult as communities grapple with unpredictable, extreme weather events, flooding, development pressures, population increase and wetland loss. Understanding municipal decision-making processes surrounding groundwater management may shed light on how best to manage this dwindling resource that is integral to communities. The Functional Resonance Analysis Method (FRAM) is a system-mapping tool used for modelling the functionality of a socio-technical system, created by Erik Hollnagel in 2004 (Hollnagel and Slater, 2018). In this thesis, the FRAM is used to analyze the case-study community, Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove (LBMCOC), as a socio-technical system, developing a holistic understanding of the Town’s decision-making process in regard to groundwater management. While LBMCOC has agreed to participate as a case-study community, they are not a formal partner and the research goals of this thesis may not necessarily reflect the goals of the community itself. Input from community decision makers and other stakeholders inform the model. This model is then used in conjunction with the DynaFRAM, a FRAM-based tool to observe variability in a system, which assist in identifying key factors contributing to strengths and weaknesses in the case-study community’s groundwater management approach. These insights may be useful for other municipalities looking to adopt a similar approach. Literature surrounding groundwater governance has increasingly called for the implementation of “holistic water management frameworks” (Famiglietti, 2014). In using the FRAM to understand the community as a system in a holistic manner, this study’s methodology expands on the holistic framework approach. It also recognizes the interconnectivity of surface water (wetlands) and groundwater, a relationship which is oftentimes neglected in water management. The FRAM has yet to be used to analyze a case community context. Therefore, this research may not only be valuable to the community of Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove (LBMCOC) but demonstrates a methodological contribution to the environmental management research community as well.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 16016
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 122-130)
Keywords: groundwater governance, FRAM, Functional Resonance Analysis Method, wetlands, wetland functionality, municipal, groundwater management, natural asset management, Eastern Canada, Newfoundland
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Science and the Environment > Environmental Policy Institute
Date: May 2023
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Groundwater--Newfoundland and Labrador; Groundwater--Law and legislation--Newfoundland and Labrador; Government accountability--Newfoundland and Labrador; Municipal government--Newfoundland and Labrador

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