Thousands of households in the Central Highland province of Dak Lak are suffering from a severe shortage of water due to prolonged drought.

In Krong Bong district, locals have to travel up to 10km to fetch or buy water.

Nguyen Thi Ba in the district's Cu Kty Commune said there has been no rain over the past three months and wells, ponds and springs have dried up.

Ba, who now has to go some kilometres to get water from a spring, said her well was dredged two times, but it still had no water.

Tran Van Cu, deputy chairman of the Chu Kty People's Committee, said drought in the commune has been severe.

People can get enough water for their daily use, but to save their crops they need support from authorities, he said.

In other communes, Hoa Thanh, Ea Trul and Chu Pui, villagers are also facing severe water shortages. It is estimated that the district has nearly 1,000 households suffering from water shortages.

Ho Duc Hoa, deputy head of the Krong Bong District Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau, said the district has spent 80 million VND (3,800 USD) on pipes to transport water to residential areas affected.

The communes have funded part of the cost for irrigation, Hoa said.

Drought has affected about 530ha of crops in the district, destroying 143ha of rice, he said.

If the heat wave lasts for another month, the amount of crop affected will increase to 943ha, according to the bureau.

In the province's Buon Ma Thuot City, and Buon Don and Cu M'gar districts, the number of households facing shortages of water has increased day by day, according to the province's Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and Control and Natural Disaster Mitigation.

Meanwhile, the province's Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said this drought will last for a long time.

Droughts normally occur in the Central Highlands in April and May, but this year the dry season has come earlier. Since February, the water levels in rivers and springs have been very low.

About 2,008ha of the winter-spring crop, including wet rice, maize and coffee, in Dak Lak had been affected by drought as of the middle of this month. Of this figure, 375ha of wet rice and 275ha of maize have been destroyed, according to the province's Agriculture and Rural Development Department.

Dak Lak has the largest crop cultivation area in the region.-VNA