The water sector in India is administered as a state subject, and state and local government agencies are responsible for managing drinking water programmes for the population. Rural water supply programmes in the country have experienced significant gaps in local-level programme administration and management, funding and personnel capacities over the past years. This paper assesses some aspects of the current state of decentralized governance of water programmes across different states and highlights challenges in efficient implementation of rural water programmes across states. The current state of centralized reporting and monitoring of village-level water institutions across different states has been analyzed. Additionally, utilization and monitoring of support funds at state and district levels for various activities critical to the long-term sustainability of community water programmes are assessed. A 2016-2017 snapshot of trainings and personnel readiness in village water institutions across states has also been created. To supplement this current state assessment of India's decentralized water programmes, case studies from two countries have been presented—Singapore, which achieved universal water and sanitation within a generation of independence, and Ethiopia, which shares similarities with India in its decentralized rural water access programmes.