This paper describes a pilot study that aimed at testing a set of indicators for the evaluation of the national water sector in West African countries. The set of indicators is based on a representation of the water sector as a production system embedding a value chain. The information relating to the production system is structured in three blocks: the context, the functioning (inputs and outputs) and the governance. The pilot study covered five countries and the results were debated in two regional workshops, led by the Water Resources Coordination Center of the Economic Community of West African States. The results show that the method gives an in-depth analysis of the water sector, in particular of water governance. The governance indicators can be used for periodical integrated water resources management (IWRM) audits but the complexity requires significant efforts in order to collect reliable data, in particular in West Africa where information tends to be fragmented.