Public canal irrigation systems suffer from many deficiencies - inefficiency, unreliable delivery of water, inequitable water distribution, neglect of maintenance causing deterioration of infrastructure, etc. Transferring irrigation management to water users' associations is considered essential for improving canal management. Those NGOs with a strong gender focus would like women to be brought into the mainstream of irrigation management by encouraging them to participate actively in the affairs of water users' associations. This paper seeks to examine such an approach, focussing on the interaction with women's groups in six villages in the Gujarat, India which had different sources of water for domestic use but one common feature - they were all served by a canal. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) was conducted in these villages to ascertain women's priorities regarding water use. Two issues were examined: (1) how canals can better serve women's priority needs; (2) what women can do to improve the canal management and better functioning of water users' associations.