Safe-yield concepts historically focused attention on the economic and legal aspects of ground water development. Sustainability concerns have brought environmental aspects more to the forefront and have resulted in a more integrated outlook. Water resources sustainability is not a purely scientific concept, but rather a perspective that can frame scientific analysis. The evolving concept of sustainability presents a challenge to hydrologists to translate complex, and sometimes vague, socioeconomic and political questions into technical questions that can be quantified systematically. Hydrologists can contribute to sustainable water resources management by presenting the longer-term implications of ground water development as an integral part of their analyses.