Local authorities earlier this month announced a level 3 natural disaster due to drought in the whole province and level 4 (the highest level) for Thuan Nam and Thuan Bac districts.
By May 24, the total amount of water measured in 21 lakes in the province accounted for just more than 12 per cent of designed capacity.
Seventeen lakes were totally empty and locals had to abandon the summer-autumn crop this year in more than 15,300ha of land, losing 10,800ha of rice and 4,500ha of vegetables.
Local residents lacked water for daily use, leading to authorities implementing various solutions to support them.
Every four hours, authorities sent tanks of water to people, while Thuan Bac District authorities co-ordinated with investors of Binh Tien Tourism Site Project to examine and drill wells, as well as treat underground water from the wells to provide local citizens.
Local authorities have also enhanced people's awareness of the need to save water.
Residents in Binh Tien Village, Cong Hai Commune, in Thuan Bac, said each day they came to a nearby stream to take water home. As the stream was exhausted, they had to wait several hours to get enough water.
Mrs A Toa Thi Huynh, 47, from Ta Noi Village, Ma Noi Commune in Ninh Thuan said she walked to a water source located more than 100m from her home under strong sunlight to fetch two 5 litre cans for daily use.
"There is less and less water in the stream while the water is not clean enough for drinking," she said. "The local army brings us drinking water every day."
Huynh said wells that locals drilled had also dried up.
Ca Mau Ha, 58, also from the village said he had never experienced such a serious drought.
"Streams are getting dried," he said. "Each day our family needs four cans (each of 10 litres) to use."
He also said his 1ha land of rice and corn was dying as he could not water it for two months.
The poultry and domestic animals in the village are also in need of food.
Nghiem Van Vinh, chairman of Ma Noi Commune's People's Committee, said the commune had stopped nurturing rice and vegetable planted on 800ha of land.
"Ta Noi Village is in serious need of water among six villages in the commune," he said.
The village hosts nearly 700 people who mostly live on agriculture.
Local soldiers will provide clean water to locals till the end of May, he said.
Luckily, the situation got better as on May 26, a large amount of rain fell in several hours in Bac Ai District.
The rain measured at Phuoc Hoa Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting Station was 43.6 mm/24 hours; in Phuoc Tan Station 44.6mm; and Phuoc Dai Station 36.6 mm.
Before May 26, thunder and rain appeared in various localities in the province.
The total amount of rain in Ma Noi Commune on May 27 was 85 mm and Pha River (in the same Ninh Son District) was more than 105 mm; in Phuoc Binh Commune (of Bac Ai Province) was 117 mm.
Tran Ngoc Hung, deputy director of Ninh Thuan Province's Fresh Water and Environment Hygiene Centre, said the rain had helped improve the problem. VNS