The article describes local realities and contextual circumstances in Afghanistan which are infuencing cooperation on water sharing during dry years. The contribution assesses the performance of multi-stakeholder platforms for water management as a ‘good' water governance model promoted by the European Union in Afghanistan's post-civil war environment. Based on interviews with key stakeholders held in 2011-12, and using criteria derived from (a) the new Afghanistan Water Law and (b) MSP literature, especially Verhallen, Warner, and Santbergen (2007), we scrutinize water management and confict resolution in two sub-basins in North Afghanistan, the Lower Kunduz and the Taloqan, singled out as pilots for the new model, in two very dry years: 2008 and 2011.The article concludes that there is a predictable implementation gap between models and practices. It highlights that 7 years after the introduction of good governance models, water allocation is still driven by what may appear as a darker side of governance. The article questions whether it actually is for the worst, including when it comes to limiting inequity in water access and preventing conficts.