This paper aims to present a new quantitative systematic approach to evaluate the effectiveness of utilizing and allocating resources based on the concept of "Work" in physics. This method is examined in the Urmia Lake Basin (ULB), shrinking of which has threatened the life of about five million inhabitants and ecosystem biodiversity. In the proposed approach, the role of three types of financial, human, and environmental resources in the development process is evaluated quantitatively, and they have been compared in two periods before and after the severe reduction of the lake water volume. Results show that although financial resources have increased by 1.9 times in the second period, the effectiveness of the development process has decreased. Therefore, the resources have not been utilized properly in a direction compatible with sustainable development strategies. Additionally, the improperly-spent financial resources on the development projects especially in the second period have had a more destructive role than the human and environmental resources in the ULB crisis.

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