While planning resource management systems in rural areas, it is important to consider criteria that are specific to the local social conditions. Such criteria might change from one region to another and are hence best identified using a participatory approach. In this work, we propose a participatory framework to identify such criteria and derive their weights. These identified criteria and their weights are used as parameters to develop a quantitative model for evaluating efficiency of each system. Such a model can serve as a support tool for stakeholders to simulate and analyze "what-if" scenarios, evaluate alternatives, and select one which best satisfies their requirements. We use existing systems to test the model by comparing efficiencies evaluated by the model to efficiencies perceived by the stakeholders. The model is calibrated by repeating the process until statistically significant correlation is achieved between evaluated and perceived efficiencies. The novelty of the proposed framework lies in treating efficiencies perceived by the stakeholders as the ground truth since they know these systems well and are their ultimate users. The framework is successfully demonstrated using case study of rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems in an Indian village. The resulting calibrated model can be used to plan new RWH systems in this region and similar regions elsewhere. The framework can be used to plan other resource management systems in various regions. © 2015 American Water Resources Association.