More than 1,500 families in the southern provinces of Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan have suffered water shortages for more than a month due to the lack of rain.

"Water from rivers, streams and wells is all gone. Many of us have to travel 20km to buy water for daily use," said Mang Thi Thuy, a resident of Ham Can commune in Ham Thuan Nam district of Binh Thuan province. "We have not even paid for the water. We have to wait until our harvest to pay."

The Linh River, the main source of water for the commune, is empty, forcing local residents to dig small holes to collect traces of water.

"After we dig the holes, we have to wait the whole night to collect a little water to wash our clothes and bathe. It has been like this for several months," said Mang Can, head of Village 1 in Ham Can commune.

The water shortage also hurts farmers. Tens of hectares of dragon fruit in the commune have not been watered properly for the last few months.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of Ninh Thuan province has warned farmers not to start their 1,500-hectare rice crops but to save water for other crops as well as the province's approximately 38,000 cattle.

In the last winter-spring crop, a water shortage affected more than 5,400 hectares of rice in Ninh Thuan province.

This year, five hydropower reservoirs in the province have gone empty, according to Ninh Thuan Province Hydropower Exploitation Company.

"If it doesn't rain by June, local residents will no doubt be both hungry and out of water," said Luu Ngoc Le, vice head of the Agriculture Unit of Thuan Nam district in Ninh Thuan provice.

About 200 families in Phuoc Trung commmune of Bac Ai district, Ninh Thuan province don't have water for their fields, meaning they cannot work.

"Without work, some people start drinking," said Ta In Ra, a resident of Phuoc Trung commune.-VNA