Drought Sabotages Critical Hydroelectric Dams

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Lake Kariba dam on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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Venezuela's energy crisis is rippling through its economy. Dropping oil prices have cut into state funds, and a drought has critically diminished water levels at the massive Guri Dam, which is home to Venezuela's largest hydroelectric power station.

To cut back on energy demand, the government has imposed a two-day work week for all public sector workers, and schools have also been closed on Fridays.

Hannah Dreier is Venezuela correspondent for The Associated Press and was in Caracas when a new round of protests erupted on Tuesday. She discusses the energy crisis, and the subsequent unrest. 

Hydroelectric power has reshaped economies all over the world, but as in Venezuela, many even recently completed dams face genuinely different conditions than their designers anticipated because of climate change.

Low water levels at the Kariba dam on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe are causing blackouts, and the Hoover Dam in the American southwest, which supplies Las Vegas with water, reached a new all-time low in April 2015. 

In the face of droughts and changing weather patterns, can these expensive and prestigious projects still be viable? The Takeaway spoke with John Matthews, secretariat coordinator, Alliance for Global Water Adaptation, about what a sustainable dam could look like.