The importance of water as a life source and a requisite for survival of rural areas as well as main driver of agricultural development made it necessary to manage its usage efficiently. Thus, it is really necessary that water users have a responsible and active participation in the management of water systems. The purpose of this survey research was to identify the factors affecting rural people's participation in the management and exploitation of irrigation and drainage networks in the Lishter Plain of Gachsaran County. Data was collected from a sample of 163 villagers which was selected based on stratified random sampling procedure. In the survey, data gathering tool was a close ended questionnaire. Its validity was verified using the face validity procedure. Its reliability was also calculated using Cronbach's alpha reliability from 0.633 to 0.923 based on a pilot study scores. The results showed that social capital, attitude towards participation, farming experience and prior participation experience have a positive and statistically significant effects on management and exploitation of irrigation systems, while other variables such as economic concerns, attitude towards official staff, the period of residency in village, educational level, planting area, number of farms and irrigation network coverage had no significant effects. The results of multiple linear regression indicated that structural factors and farming experience can explain about 0.439 of the variance of dependent variable that is participation in the management and exploitation of irrigation networks of the study area.