Fundación IMDEA Agua (standing for Madrid Institute of Advanced Studies in Water) is a non-profit organization (NPO), legally established as a research foundation, with circa 40 full-time employees and based in Madrid (Spain). It gathers an interdisciplinary research team specialised in water economics and linking scientific knowledge to policy. This team is strengthened through its link with other institutions (academia, international organisations, etc.), as well as with the inputs from other working areas within the Foundation (biologists, physicists, chemists, engineers, geologists, geographers, and other experts on the natural environment).
IMDEA has developed a research line on the economic valuation of biophysical flows of ecosystem services (both water and terrestrial natural systems), with emphasis on the estimation of the economic value of water provision for a wide range of final uses (drinking water and sanitation, irrigated agriculture, industrial uses, hydropower generation, etc.), pollution natural assimilation capacity in aquatic ecosystems, recreational fishing, carbon fixation in histosols (i.e. peat bogs) and biological diversity conservation. IMDEA also has a wide expertise on water scarcity and drought risk management, in particular, in Mediterranean and drought prone areas in Europe, Northern Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Central Asia, with strong links to climate change effects and how to enhance adaptation. IMDEA has developed work on economic policy instruments (EPIs) to induce individual decisions regarding water use in order to contribute to the collective goals of reducing vulnerability to scarcity and increasing aquatic ecosystem resilience to drought risk.
IMDEA leads WP3, Assessment Framework, responsible for drafting the AQUACROSS Assessment Framework integrating socio-ecological and economic analyses. In addition IMDEA contributes to the science-policy dialogue in WP1, Stakeholder Engagement and Communication, and to addressing synergies and operational policy barriers for the implementation of the EC Biodiversity Strategy in WP2, Policy Orientation. IMDEA also provides inputs regarding economic drivers and also outcomes from behavioural models that are critical to build the link between drivers and pressures in WP4, Drivers of Change and Pressures on Aquatic Ecosystems, and economic insights and ensure internal consistency in the discussion around resilience in WP5, Causalities between Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functions and Services. In WP6, Information Platform, IMDEA contributes to the identification of policy and end-user requirements on water data (mainly economic ones), information systems, and lessons learnt; also, in the development of ecosystem service indicators (mainly economic, but potentially others, as part of the linkage between WP3, and WP6). In WP7, Forecasting Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Provision, IMDEA provides economic inputs for the prospective analysis. Finally, in WP8, Ecosystem-based Management towards Policy Objectives, IMDEA contributes to the development of ecosystem-based management approaches and the identification of business opportunities for a wider uptake by end-users of the project’s outcomes.