Pakistan’s 210 million people rely heavily on agriculture, which accounts for over 90 percent of the country’s water consumption. Development, climate change and population growth is putting pressure on water supplies. Surface water supply is highly variable, and dependence on groundwater has rapidly increased. Continuous decline in groundwater quantity and quality is undermining livelihoods, especially of poor smallholder farming families. Collaboration among people with an interest in water, agriculture and human dignity is needed to rapidly address the challenge of pursuing productive and sustainable groundwater use. Our ACIAR funded project is part of the Australia Water Program in Pakistan. It aims to encourage and enable collaboration to address the complexity of achieving effective and fair groundwater management, and uses six in-depth case studies across three provinces in Pakistan. Through a focus on partnerships it is building capacity of researchers, farmers, farming communities and relevant government and non-government agencies. Building capacity means building skills, knowledge, networks and confidence. As we reach the end of the project we see that partnerships are consolidating. For example, provincial agencies, universities and other partners are collaborating to investigate social, economic and technical aspects of groundwater management in each case study. Stakeholder forums have been established with all six case study communities to co-design research interventions, with representation from relevant government and non-government organisations, farmers’ organisations and progressive farmers. The stakeholder forums are beginning to comment on outputs and guide research and extension. Small steps maybe, but steps toward working together for a fairer future.