The impact of recent drought and water pollution episodes results in an acute need to project future water availability to assist water managers in water utility infrastructure management within many metropolitan regions. Separate drought and water quality indices previously developed might not be sufficient for the purpose of such an assessment. This paper describes the development of the "Metropolitan Water Availability Index (MWAI)" and its potential applications in assessing the middle-term water availability at the watershed scale in a fast growing metropolitan region - the Manatee County near Tampa Bay, Florida, U.S.A. The MWAI framework is based on a statistical approach that seeks to reflect the continuous spatial and temporal variations of both water quantity and quality using a simple numerical index. Such a trend analysis will surely result in the final MWAI values for regional water management systems within a specified range. By using remote sensing technologies and data processing techniques, continuous monitoring of spatial and temporal distributions of key water availability variables, such as evapotranspiration (ET) and precipitation, is made achievable. These remote sensing technologies can be ground-based (e.g., radar estimates of rainfall), or based on remote sensing data gathered by aircraft or satellites. Using a middle term historical record, the MWAI was applied to the Manatee County water supplies. The findings clearly indicate that only eight out of twelve months in 2008 had positive MWAI values during the year. Such numerical findings are consistent with the observational evidence of statewide drought events in 2006-2008, which implies the time delay between the ending of severe drought period and the recovery of water availability in MWAI. It is expected that this forward-looking novel water availability forecasting platform will help provide a linkage in methodology between strategic planning, master planning, and the plant operation and adaptations in response to the MWAI implications.