The shortage and overexploitation of water resources restrict the sustainable development of metropolitan areas. To evaluate the sustainable utilization level of water resources, we identified the occupancy of natural capital stock and the consumption of natural capital flow by water resources consumption and analyzed the factors influencing water resources consumption in metropolitan area development. We took the Wuhan Metropolitan Area in China from 2010 to 2019 as the research object and introduced footprint depth and size, the water ecological footprint (WEF) model was expanded into the three-dimensional WEF model. Based on this model, an evaluation system for the sustainable utilization level of water resources was constructed with five indices—water ecological deficit, water ecological surplus, water ecological pressure, WEF depth, and WEF size. Finally, the driving factors of WEF change were analyzed using the Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index. The evaluation of the sustainable utilization level of water resources showed that the Wuhan Metropolitan Area as a whole experienced water ecological surplus from 2010 to 2019, but there were different degrees of water ecological deficit in its inner urban areas, and the most serious cumulative deficit was 5.02 ha/cap in Ezhou. In 2011 and 2019, the sustainable utilization level of water resources in the metropolitan area reached a relatively unsustainable state. Xianning was the urban area with the most sustainable utilization level of water resources. During the study period, the metropolitan area did not occupy the natural capital stock of water resources, and the natural capital flow of water resources in the inner urban areas could meet the demand of the current consumption of the region in 2010 and 2016. The analysis of the driving factors of WEF change showed that economic development effect and population pressure effect had a positive driving effect on WEF change, while WEF intensity effect and water resources carrying capacity effect had the opposite effect. Finally, according to the research results, it can be seen that improving the efficiency of water resources utilization, protecting the natural capital stock of water resources, realizing differentiated regional development through the market economy and developing water policy can be helpful to improve the level of sustainable water resources utilization.
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