© 2015, Springer International Publishing Switzerland. Background and aims: Knowledge on periodic uptake, accumulation and allocation of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) in different tissues of a rice plant under different soil moisture management conditions is important when implementing efficient and effective water management practices ensuring sustainable rice production. Methods: Rice variety Bg358 was grown in soil columns containing sufficient amounts of N, P and K. Four water management treatments were used; (i) continuous flooding (CF) of soil from crop establishment to maturity, (ii) CF until tillering (4 weeks) and Alternative Wetting and Drying (AWD4) thereafter, (iii) CF until flowering (10 weeks) and AWD thereafter (AWD10), (iv) CF until flowering and Top Soil Drying (TSD) thereafter (TSD10). Harvests were made in 2 weeks intervals. Key results: Root growth of AWD4 decreased from 4th week compared with CF, and then enhanced from flowering onwards; thereby developing more roots in the top 20 cm soil layer increasing the root mass ratio. Both N and K uptake continued until maturity while P uptake continued until 2 weeks before maturity, and the amount taken up was highest for K and lowest for P. Moisture limitations substantially reduced tissue P content and retranslocation of P to panicles while the lowest reductions were observed in N. Therefore, internal utilisation was most efficient for P and lowest for N i.e., during grain filling N resorbed only from flag leaves, K from green, dead and flag leaves and only in AWD4, and P from green, flag and dead leaves, and stems. Conclusion: Initially reduced root growth under AWD stimulated after flowering. Soil moisture limitation reduced P uptake greatly and thus had most efficient internal P utilisation mechanisms throughout the life cycle while those of N were the lowest.