A new approach for evaluating water sustainability is introduced by comparing physical and economic sustainability. To achieve physical sustainability, water should be available in sufficient quantity and of good quality and used efficiently. The economic sustainability can be achieved by balancing between costs and values of water. The objectives of this study were to estimate the physical and economic sustainability of surface water in the Big Lost River, south-central Idaho. The study used a Bayesian network by building a graphical diagram of nodes representing all significant variables related with the sustainability, such as water demand, water quality, and the different costs and values of water. The study showed that the likelihood of the physical sustainability is less than that of the economic sustainability, which is attributed to the scarcity of water in the Big Lost River. © Springer 2005.
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