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Research areas

The scientific program of the Institute is based on the development of four main strategic lines for the integrated water management.

Strategic Lines

Sustainable Management of Water Bodies

Hydrogeology

  • Hydrogeological modelling
  • Quality and pollution of groundwater
  • Aquifer recharge
  • Reclaimed water reuse for environmental and recreational uses
  • Water and mining

Acuatic ecosystems

  • Biological indicators
  • Cyanobacteria

Hydraulic heritage

Extreme events

Water and landscape

Quality and pollution

  • Best methods for pollutants analyses
  • Warning methods on water bodies
  • Objectives of chemical and biological quality
  • Toxicology and ecotoxicology

Water Treatment and Water Reuse

Three main fields of action are considered in terms of water treatment and water reuse research activities: drinking water, urban and industrial wastewater treatment and reclaimed water reuse.

Drinking Water

  • Treatment Technologies
  • Innovation in waste management
  • Detection and removal of micropollutants

Urban and Industrial Wastewater Treatment

  • Biological and physical-chemical processes
  • Membranes
  • Elimination of odors and hazardous substances

Reclaimed Water Reuse for environmental and recreational uses

Economic and Institutional Analysis

IIMDEA Water's Economic and Institutional Analysis area is currently developing a number of research lines in order to fulfil the following aims: 

- To show the links between the macroeconomic context and the value of water as a key element in the economy and in the preservation of ecosystem services. Likewise, it is expected to assess the role of resources as an natural capital asset, exploring links between legal and economic systems to ensure the sustainable use of water.

- To analyse the relevance of the institutional system for water management, with a special emphasis on the administrative organization, secure and stable private rights (use and exploitation), flexible allocation mechanisms, externality analysis and control of monopolistic positions on the resource.

- To analyse the role of economic, social, and environmental features of drinking water and sanitation services on the design of systems that guarantee efficiency and equity through capitalization of scale and scope economies, natural monopoly regulation, market strategies, priority of water in public budget and adequate subsidies (i.e. targeted at lower-income population). All this, within a context that maximizes the potential for public-private partnerships in the creation and management of services.

- To assess the relevance of economic analysis and economic and financial mechanism design in water management, as tools to foster efficiency in water allocation, internalization of externalities, sustainable management patterns and social and economic profitability of water uses.

For this purpose, the Economic and Institutional Analysis area develops research lines in a competitive research project framework as well as other projects developed in co-operation with governments (different levels of public administration), bilateral and multilateral funding organizations (World Bank, IADB, UN-ECLAC, UNESCO, UN-PAHO) and NGOs (such as the GWP).