The upgrading of the Hare Irrigation System was a joint undertaking of the governments of Ethiopia and the People's Republic of China. After completion of the primary and the secondary canals, farmers refused to take over responsibility of the system. Existing literature on the Hare Irrigation System does not differentiate between various farmer groups and their interests. This study highlights the differences in perception of head-end, middle and tail-end farmers. The main group that is not satisfied with the system are the head-enders, because they are partly excluded from using it. While the middle and tail-end farmers are satisfied with the new irrigation system, they are unhappy because they have not received the promised compensation. Overall, the paper highlights the lack of transparency and communication between the local community, the government and the Chinese design and construction agency, which appears to be the main reason for the dissatisfaction of parts of the local community.