MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small endogenous regulatory RNAs that are involved in a variety of biological processes related to proliferation, development, and response to biotic and abiotic stresses. miRNA profiles of rice (Oryza sativa L. cv. IR64.) leaves in a partial root zone drying (PRD) system were analysed using a high-throughput sequencing approach to identify miRNAs associated with drought signalling. The treatments performed in this study were as follows: well-watered ("wet" roots, WW), wherein both halves of the pot were watered daily; drought ("dry" roots, DD), wherein water was withheld from both halves of the pot; and well-watered/drought ("wet" and "dry" roots, WD), wherein one half of each pot was watered daily, the same as in WW, and water was withheld from the other part, the same as in DD. High-throughput sequencing enabled us to detect novel miRNAs and study the differential expression of known miRNAs. A total of 209 novel miRNAs were detected in this study. Differential miRNA profiling of the DD, WD and WW conditions showed differential expression of 159 miRNAs, among which 83, 44 and 32 miRNAs showed differential expression under both DD and WD conditions. The detection of putative targets of the differentially expressed miRNAs and investigation of their functions showed that most of these genes encode transcription factors involved in growth and development, leaf morphology, regulation of hormonal homeostasis, and stress response. The most important differences between the DD and WD conditions involved regulation of the levels of hormones such as auxin, cytokinin, abscisic acid, and jasmonic acid and also regulation of phosphor homeostasis. Overall, differentially expressed miRNAs under WD conditions were found to differ from those under DD conditions, with such differences playing a role in adaptation and inducing the normal condition. The mechanisms involved in regulating hormonal homeostasis and involved in energy production and consumption were found to be the most important regulatory pathways distinguishing the DD and WD conditions.