It is of great significance to establish a scientific and reasonable water resources carrying capacity evaluation system and evaluation method on the basis of studying the interdependence and mutual relations of water resources, society, economy and the ecological environment. This can guide water resources utilization and economic and social development planning, and promote the sustainable development of water resources and the socio-economic system. Projection pursuit technology can achieve automatic index selection and index weight confirmation. When used to assess water resources carrying capacity, the subjectivity and uncertainty of index weights can be avoided. Meanwhile, it can also be used to optimize the index system, and can improve the accuracy of evaluation results and discrimination. In this paper, the projection pursuit grade model of water resources carrying capacity is established. The evaluation criteria are determined by combining the theory with practice. Grades I to IV indicate that the water resources capacity declines gradually. This is the first study of water resources carrying capacity in four municipalities in China. The results show that the water resources carrying capacity of the four municipalities in 2012 belong to the third level, Chongqing is close to the second level and Tianjin is close to the fourth level.

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