The measurement of total basin discharge along coastal regions is necessary for understanding the hydrological and oceanographic issues related to the water and energy cycles. However, only the observed streamflow (gauge-based observation) is used to estimate the total fluxes from the river basin to the ocean, neglecting the portion of discharge that infiltrates to underground and directly discharges into the ocean. Hence, the aim of this study is to assess the total discharge of the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang
) basin. In this study, we explore the potential response of total discharge to changes in precipitation (from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission—TRMM), evaporation (from four versions of the Global Land Data Assimilation—GLDAS, namely, CLM, Mosaic, Noah and VIC), and water-storage changes (from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment—GRACE) by using the terrestrial water budget method. This method has been validated by comparison with the observed streamflow, and shows an agreement with a root mean square error (RMSE) of 14.30 mm/month for GRACE-based discharge and 20.98 mm/month for that derived from precipitation minus evaporation (P − E
). This improvement of approximately 32% indicates that monthly terrestrial water-storage changes, as estimated by GRACE, cannot be considered negligible over Yangtze basin. The results for the proposed method are more accurate than the results previously reported in the literature.