Home Emergency Management News Venezuela: A Case Study in the Effects of Severe Drought

Venezuela: A Case Study in the Effects of Severe Drought


Lack of water is impacting country in more ways than one

Problems associated with drought are nothing new to many people around the world, but Venezuela is feeling the impact more than most, as its water supply is directly tied to its energy supply.

Around the world and right here in the U.S., drought is affecting millions and reshaping government policies. California has been enduring one of its worst droughts in history, which led Governor Jerry Brown to push forward aggressive water conservation measures.

Climate change is contributing to more extreme weather and millions are being directly impacted by warmer temperatures and less fresh water. Reservoirs are emptying, islands are drying out, and communities are being forced to rethink their water supplies.

In Venezuela, a recent, severe drought is sending shockwaves through the country, as the lack of rain is impacting residents from different angles. Not only is the drought bringing obvious consequences like parched land and rationed water, but it is also sending the country directly into an energy crisis.

Venezuela's Guri dam

Venezuela relies heavily on hydropower to create electricity, and the current drought is lowering water levels and making electricity generation more difficult. Venezuela's Guri dam, one of the largest dams in the world, is falling to critical depths.

Under normal circumstances, electricity generated by hydropower at the Guri dam can power upwards of 60 percent of the entire nation.

Drastic measures

With electricity supply dwindling, the Venezuelan government is taking drastic measures. The government declared every Friday in April and May a holiday to create a four-day work week in an effort to save electricity, President Nicolas Maduro has asked women to stop using hair dryers, and now President Maduro announced a time change in an effort to conserve electricity.

Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.