A framework for the environmental-hydraulic design of the outfall system for desalination plants is described. It is based on three items: First, the identification of environmental impacts, regulatory frameworks and public concerns regarding brine effluent discharges. Second, the elaboration of easily applicable screening tools. Third, the development of hydrodynamic model interfaces for predicting brine effluent concentrations of key parameters in the marine environment by coupling a near-field mixing model for outfall design optimization with a far-field transport model for optimized outfall siting.