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  • Drought has turned parts of Venezuela's Guri Dam into a desert.

    Drought has turned parts of Venezuela's Guri Dam into a desert. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 April 2016

Venezuela is dependant on hydroelectric power, but a severe drought is drying up its chief source of electricity.

Venezuela is embracing a two-day workweek for state employees to save electricity, a response to an extreme drought that has dried up the reservoir the South American nation depends on for energy.

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The reduced workweek will extend through the month of May.

"Venezuela has suffered three years of severe drought—the most intense in the last 40 years—which forces us to make this series of measures," said Aristobulo Isturiz, Venezuela's executive vice president, on Tuesday.

Only "those duties which are essential and necessary” will not be exempted from the decree, he said.

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Venezuela has deployed a permanent team to a state-owned hydroelectric power plant, which has significantly diminished production due to drying water resources.

The Guri, the country’s largest reservoir and one of the continent’s most important hydroelectric plants, is at a critical juncture, with water levels just 1.60 meters above the point at which the dam will collapse, according to the minister of electrical energy.

President Nicolas Maduro requested international help to deal with the effects of the drought.

The energy-saving measures also ration out electricity for four hours for a total of 40 days.

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