This thesis will analyse how decentralisation and participatory development have enfolded in Kyrgyzstan, as these agendas have been criticised for not taking account of power structures in the society at the local level, and between local societies and powerful policy-makers and aid agencies. As the Kyrgyz government has implemented traditional and informal elements in modern, democratic governance structures, this sets the stage for a range of institutional sites to use or abuse to gain political power. Water governance has become particularly precarious in Kyrgyzstan, as operation, governance and maintenance disintegrated after Soviet collapse. This has created conflicts and poverty both locally and regionally. Decentralisation and participative efforts have to a large part been implemented by aid agencies and the Kyrgyz government in water governance as well. Local water associations, governance by local governments and collective volunteer work for digging canals are some of these measures. This thesis will study a village case where an irrigation project is supported by the Aga Khan Foundation with a focus to improve local participation and governance in water irrigation, develop agriculture and create possibilities for youth. This thesis will, through a ‘politics of scale’ and ‘institutional bricolage’ analysis, explore the possibilities and obstacles for different actors to move and use the reformed institutions of water governance. In particular, it seeks to answer how different villagers participate in the governance system, and if they gain decision-making power through local self-governance reforms.