In order to assess the water resources carrying capacity (WRCC) of Hubei province, an improved catastrophe progression method based on M-K test and correlation analysis was established. This model includes evaluation, abrupt change test and correlation analysis. It can make a comprehensive assessment of water resource carrying capacity in a certain area. The evaluation results of this model are clear and can effectively avoid the effects of subjective weight and, in addition, it can also streamline the index system. We applied the model to study the WRCC of Hubei province from 2005 to 2016, considering the supply and demand of water resources, ecological environment, economy and society. The results showed that the WRCC of Hubei province is at the ‘weak’ level, presenting a certain development and utilization potential, but it must be strictly controlled and moderately developed. The WRCC of Hubei province is improving, but must be adjusted by water conservation facilities and long-term management policies to prevent the foreseeable deterioration. Water supply and demand systems and ecological environment systems were found to be the driving factors of WRCC through correlation analysis. This approach gives the decision-makers suggestions about water resource sustainable utilization.