Increasing water scarcity has made it difficult to meet global water demands, so the sustainable use of water resources is an important issue. In this study, the sustainable water resource system (SWRS) operating mechanism is discussed, considering three components: dynamics, resistance and coordination. According to the SWRS operating mechanism, a universal indicator system with three layers, including goal, criterion, and index layers, is constructed for SWRS evaluation. Additionally, considering the fuzziness of threshold values for grading standards, an SWRS evaluation model is constructed based on the set pair analysis (SPA), analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and attribute interval recognition methods. This model is conceptually simple and convenient. An evaluation indicator system is constructed for the SWRS in Beijing, and evaluation standards with five grades are established. The dynamics of the sustainability of the Beijing SWRS and corresponding operating mechanism are analyzed using the SPA evaluation model. The results suggest that the three components of the operating mechanism all have positive effects on the Beijing SWRS state, but the SWRS state has not yet been fundamentally changed. Therefore, considerable improvements can be achieved regarding the sustainability of the Beijing SWRS.
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