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Water and power drying up in Venezuela due to drought

Staff writer ▼ | April 27, 2016
Only when it rains, as it has done these last few days in Caracas, can the locals in Venezuela bathe directly under the falling rain or catch it in buckets.
Venezuela drought
Power in LatAm   Running water once in every 20 days
Running water only reaches their run-down district once in every 20 days. The consequences of El Niño, which has caused the most extreme two years of drought the country has ever known, has the oil-rich country’s back to the wall, not only because of the limited possibilities of distributing water but also because the generation of more than 60 percent of the nation’s hydroelectric power depends on the water in reservoirs.

Authorities said the rains, which have eased the drought in some poor areas, are only temporary and will be insufficient to fill the reservoirs that supply the nation.

Water in Guri Dam, which serves the main hydroelectric plant in the country, stands at 141.86 meters (465 feet), several meters (yards) below its critical level for remaining operational, and continues to drop at the rate of some 15 centimeters (6 inches) a day.

As the water level in reservoirs plunges, every week the government calls on people to save energy, measures that are most painful for the poor and those living in rural areas.

The guidelines for saving electricity have included ending the workday in public offices at 1 p.m., closing them on Fridays, and measures that make stores open at noon.

The latest step taken has been to decree 40 days of power cuts lasting four hours a day nationwide, except in Caracas, which was announced last Thursday by Electric Energy Minister Luis Motta Dominguez.

The electricity rationing that began this Monday seeks to slow down the rate of descent of Guri Dam’s water level until the expected rainy season begins in mid-May.