© 2014 Society of Chemical Industry. Background: Massive groundwater pumping for irrigation has started lowering water tables rapidly in different regions of Pakistan.Declining water tables have thus prompted research efforts to improve agricultural productivity and efficiency to make efficient use of scarce water resources. This study employs a restricted stochastic production frontier to estimate the level of, and factors affecting, technical efficiency of groundwater-irrigated cotton farms in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Results: The mean technical efficiency estimates indicate substantial technical inefficiencies among cotton growers. On average, tube-well owners and water buyers can potentially increase cotton production by 19% and 28%, respectively, without increasing the existing input level. The most influential factors affecting technical efficiency positively are the use of improved quality seed, consultation with extension field staff and farmers' perceptions concerning the availability of groundwater resources for irrigation in the future. Conclusions: This study proposes that adopting improved seed for new cotton varieties and providing better extension services regarding cotton production technology would help to achieve higher efficiency in cotton farming. Within the context of falling water tables, educating farmers about the actual crop water requirements and guiding them about groundwater resource availability may also help to achieve higher efficiencies.