Throughout the history of India, farmers have been the central initiator of activity related to irrigation structures and the management of irrigation water. Today the farmer’s role has changed and in this case, study in distributary 54, the farmer is perceived to be a receiver and beneficiary of irrigation water, rather than an active participating farmer. However, due to the fact that the distributary is deteriorating, the Government of India started a decentralisation process, with the intention of having the responsibility of a resource, as close to the resource as possible. Water Users associations’ and other User groups was heavily promoted, as they were seen as the way forward. 30 years down the line, the situation is still deteriorating and there is only a semi functioning WUA within the distributaries 54 kilometres. Hence, this thesis seeks to understand how the farmers are currently participating collectively, through studying the reasons behind individual participation.