The drought has hit 11 counties and districts in the central part of the region, including Zhongning, Haiyuan and Yuanzhou, with a total population of 1.47 million, said Li Kewen, vice director of the regional flood control and drought relief headquarters.
'Little precipitation is expected in central Ningxia in the near future,' he said, adding that there would be no rain in April.
Li said 100,000 people had to buy drinking water from places miles away from their houses.
'Each family has to spend at least 100 yuan ($14.63) on drinking water every month,' said Ma Jun, head of the Xutao village of Zhongning county.
Ma said most villagers chose to buy well water, which tasted salty and bitter, but cost only 70 yuan a cubic metre, as they were unable to afford tap water, which cost up to 300 yuan a cubic metre.
Local governments have mobilised officials and volunteers to carry drinking water for remote schools and households.