Over-extraction, and depletion of groundwater are among the most serious issues for small-holder coffee farming. Sustainable use of groundwater, a common-pool resource, requires cooperative behavior while formal institutions such as economic and legal instruments are either ineffective or absent in rural communities of many developing countries. As for agricultural activities in Vietnam, the traditional role of men in household decision-making process is still dominant, while the feminization of agriculture has shifted female into a more prominent position. In this study, we propose to use a combination of household surveys and framed field experiments to investigate (1) the role of community leadership in individuals’ groundwater extraction behavior and to what extent it can help sustaining common pool resource management; (2) the role of gender and female leadership in fostering cooperative behavior towards sustainable use of common pool resources; (3) actual drought adaption behavior in relation to social capital and gender aspects. We, then, expect to examine how the experimental evidence translates into real-life differences in coffee production. This study aims to provide evidence-based policy suggestions on groundwater management, especially policy efforts to empowering women in rural Vietnam.