It was established in Milan in 1970 under the name of Applied Hydrobiology Experimental Department of IRSA. In 1976 the department moved to the current headquarters in Brugherio. Main expertise includes transport, fate and effects of pollutants on the aquatic environment. It deals with issues related to river ecology, water eutrophication, aquatic ecotoxicology, and effects of climate change on aquatic ecosystems. Experimental tests integrating chemical, biological and biomolecular approaches are supported by modelling activities with the final aim of studying the availability and quality of water resources.