Water ecological carrying capacity (WECC) refers to the ability of a water ecosystem to support and withstand economic and social development. WECC assessments can provide helpful information for resolving water issues. Since WECC involves a wide range of influence factors, indicator-based methods are useful tools for this type of evaluation. However, there are still some imperfections in the existing indicator-based methods for WECC evaluation, primarily in the aspects of index frameworks, indicator selection and evaluation criteria. Based on the pressure-support force-state index framework, this paper presents an indicator-based WECC evaluation method (PSSM). Using PSSM, overall WECC evaluation can be obtained by assessing the pressure of socio-economic development on the water ecosystem, the support from the water ecosystem for human development, and the health status of the water ecosystem. PSSM is directly focused on the pressure-support effect, and fully considers the determinant influence on WECC of the health status of the water ecosystem. The application of PSSM in Tieling City shows that further reduction in the pressure that comes from socio-economic development is still required, and the health status of the water ecosystem should be further improved.
- carrying capacity
- water ecosystem
- First received 23 October 2014.
- Accepted in revised form 7 April 2015.
- © IWA Publishing 2015