Changchun is a major city in East Asia, and is both an industrial and agricultural base in China. Unfortunately, the volume of surface water available to the city has restricted its development. To monitor the status of surface water resources, this study used a combination of remote sensing and a geographic information system to analyze the volume of surface water and the water use force of both land use types. The areas with surface water were extracted when the maximal value of the normalized difference water index (NDWI) was greater than 0.1. The volume of the surface water was calculated from the digital elevation map (DEM) data. Finally, the water use force was assessed using ArcGIS software. The results indicated that there was an available volume of 18.23 × 109 m3 of surface water in Changchun, and 21% of the available area had little surface water. Changchun City and Jiutai County had more surface water than other areas in the vicinity of Changchun. It was found that 7% of the urban-industrial area was located in areas with the worst surface water availability, while 66% of the arable land area was located in areas which exceeded the worse surface water availability areas.

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