The benefit-effort analysis methodology was designed as a decision making tool in the provision of water and sanitation in rural communities in developing countries. This is an innovative approach that evaluates environmental projects during the complete project life cycle. The methodology provides a framework that incorporates social, political, economic, technical and ecological aspects which are essential to identify good solutions for the provision of water and sanitation in rural and isolated communities. It is based on the knowledge of experts that are recognized by their know-how in the specific topic and in the validation with local communities that can easily participate by providing personal opinions and suggestions. The methodology makes evident both, benefits and efforts during the complete project life cycle, in order to minimize or maximize them and to improve the decision making process guiding the identification of the best sustainable result.