IMDEA Water Institute

Ecological assessment of groundwater and groundwater dependent ecosystems

Posted by IMDEA Water InstituteResponsive · Innovative Products and Technologies · Spain

Summary of the technology

An integrated management of groundwater resources requires a complete monitoring of biological, ecological and physical-chemical water properties in order to enhance our understanding on the ecosystem services they provide.
IMDEA Water offers environmental services and fauna survey in groundwater (GW) and groundwater dependent ecosystems (GDEs) (i.e. the hyporheic zone of rivers, wetlands) for the groundwater resource sector. In order to ensure an adequate quality of groundwater for urban and rural consumption and considering the protection of aquatic resources to accomplish the directives regulations concerning water resources (Water Framework Directive, WFD 2000/60/EC, Directive on Environmental Quality, DEC 2008/105/EC and Groundwater Directive, GWD 2006/118/EC), we offer our integrated environmental consulting service on ecological assessment of GW and GDEs using a combination of traditional and innovative techniques for monitoring, evaluation and ecological analysis of GW biotic communities. We provide cost effective project solutions and outstanding client relations by delivering scientifically rigorous surveys on groundwater ecosystems.

Description of the technology


Ecological assessment of groundwater ecosystems & climate change

At IMDEA Waterwe evaluate the potential impact of urban, rural and industrial activities on groundwater ecosystems and their components via habitat survey, monitoring and evaluation of specialist invertebrate crustaceans communities. We work constantly to implement the latest results of our research in bio-monitoring and study of groundwater biotic communities (crustaceans) for: i) an integrated eco-hydrological characterization of inland and coastal aquifers in urban, agricultural and industrial landscapes; ii) the ecological qualityof groundwaters subjected to artificial recharge; iii) research and programs to assess the impact of climate changeon the resilience of groundwater and iv) advise on the managementof groundwater resources.

Ecology and biodiversity of groundwaters

From IMDEA Water we are conducting a comprehensive and systematic survey of groundwater fauna biodiversity in karst and detrital aquifers. We perform field survey & monitoring, taxonomic identifications of specimens, environmental analyze and interpretations and descriptions reports on groundwater ecosystems and surface ecosystems dependent on them.

Ecohydrological monitoring of groundwater dependent ecosystems (the hyporheic zone of rivers)

IMDEA Water performs anintegrated ecological evaluation of rivers and the associated hyporheic zone, using acombination of ecohydrological and geophysical methods(electrical imaging sensing, ERI). ERI is a geophysical technique that uses an array of electrodes to collect data on subsurface electrical resistivity of instream sediments and creating an image model. We are applying ERI to detect the surface water/groundwater exchanges in a complex coupled river-aquifer system, to map the architecture of hyporheic sediments underlying and/or within streambed; to establish the hyporheic zone extent in lateral and vertical spatial dimension; and assess the extent of habitat for the hyporheic zone invertebrates.


  • Water Companies
  • Any company and public entity interested in developing eco-hydrological studies on pollution and hydric resources management
  • Environmental consulting firms
  • Any company and public entity interested in developing studies on groundwater pollution for human consumption in developing countries
  • Public or private companies working in rivers restauration
  • Mining companies
  • Companies and owners related to groundwater use or exploitation.

Related keywords

  • Biodiversity / Natural Heritage
  • Monitoring equipment
  • groundwater
  • water
  • ecotoxicity

About IMDEA Water Institute

Research & Technology Organization from Spain

IMDEA Water, a research Institute focused on water management issues, is directed towards optimizing public and private decision-making processes, emphasizing on the link between water, public services, the economy and institutions. The scientific program of the Institute is based on the development of strategic lines for the integrated water management: management of sustainable bodies of water, quality pollution, water treatment and reuse and economic and institutional analysis.
The institute is equipped with high-level up-to-date specialized laboratories as: water, soils, geomatic, ecotoxicology and water biology labs, and pilot plants (mesocosms, microbial electrochemical technologies, land application systems and membranes technologies) for conducting the research activities.

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