This study identifies the factors which influence user participation in community-based rural water supply schemes in north Kerala, using primary data. To capture the rate of participation, two forms of indices were constructed: one to measure attendance in group meetings, and the other to measure their influence on decisions. The relative importance of factors such as locality, group and household characteristics that affect participation were analysed using linear regression models. Of the three sets of factors, it was found that household characteristics were the most influential. The analysis shows that males actively participated in group meetings. Level of education and involvement of households in other local organizations were the other major factors affecting participation.