At present, the urban water issue has attracted great attention from government. The transition from ‘engineering measures’ to ‘human behaviors’ is a new angle for water resources protection in the new era. In this paper, 12 characterization parameters were obtained based on the analysis of characteristics of residents' water behaviors. Beijing and Shanghai are selected as the representative cities in the north and south regions respectively, and a questionnaire about residents' water behaviors, which includes three basic personal characteristics and 12 indicators, was prepared. By using a structural equation model, a comparative study on the differences of the impact paths of characterization parameters of residents' water behavior in two cities was discussed. Finally, suggestions are proposed on the basis of the evaluation model and the results of analysis. The results showed that: Beijing had similar impacting paths in Ecological Water Environment management behaviors and persuasive behaviors to Shanghai. There were obvious differences in residents' water behaviors impact paths by basic individual characteristics, consuming behaviors and legal behaviors in Beijing and Shanghai. Finally, suggestions are proposed on the basis of the evaluation model and the results of analysis.