The Conversation) Millions of people all over the world rely on desalinated water. Closer to home, Australia has desalination plants in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, the Gold Coast, and many remote and regional locations.

But despite the growing size and number of desalination plants, the environmental impacts are little understood.

Our six-year study, published recently in the journal Water Research , looked at the health the marine environment before, during and after the Sydney Desalination Plant was operating.