The performance of Water Communities (WCs), a form of self-managing organisation for irrigation, in the Bregalnica region of the Republic of Macedonia is investigated. Analysis, drawing on primary survey data, focuses on the decision of farmers to join a WC (Heckman selection probit model), determinants of farmers’ satisfaction with their membership of WCs (ordered probit model) and factors associated with changes in farmers’ water payment behaviour (non-parametric CLAD model). Key determinants identified include transparency and trust with respect to the structure and operation of the WC, cost recovery rates, farm size and irrigation costs. Membership satisfaction is an important determinant of payment behaviour. Lessons for sustainable self-management are drawn.