People in Venezuela are already struggling to obtain food and medicine. But now, they'll have to add two more things to the long list of things they'll have to do without: electricity and beer.

Venezuela power cuts
A girl does her homework by candlelight at her home in San Cristobal.Carlos Eduardo Ramirez/Reuters

President Nicolas Maduro's government has begun rationing power in 18 of the country's 24 states. Even in Caracas, which is being spared the rolling power cuts, outages have become a frequent fact of life as energy supplies dwindle.

The rolling blackouts, of up to four hours a day, are a last-minute attempt to save energy until water levels stabilise at the massive Guri hydroelectric dam, which provides the bulk of the country's electricity. The reservoir has reached historic lows as the El Nino weather phenomenon delays the rainy season.

Venezuela power cuts
A man cooks by candlelight at his home during a power cut in San Cristobal.Carlos Eduardo Ramirez/Reuters
Venezuela power cuts
A security guard checks documentation, using his phone's light during a power cut in San Cristobal.Carlos Eduardo Ramirez/Reuters
Venezuela power cuts
A customer uses her mobile phone's light to look at a dress in a shop in San Cristobal.Carlos Eduardo Ramirez/Reuters
Venezuela power cuts
A man starts a generator at the door of a shop during a power cut in San Cristobal.Carlos Eduardo Ramirez/Reuters
Venezuela power cuts
A family sit at a candle lit table, in their darkened residence, in the state of Barinas.Juan Barreto/AFP
Venezuela power cuts
A boy uses a flashlight during a power cut at a bakery in San Cristobal state, 600km west of Caracas.George Castellanos/AFP
Venezuela power cuts
Two workers check a machine during a power cut in the state of San Cristobal, Venezuela.George Castellanos/AFP
Venezuela power cuts
An employee of a supermarket waits for the power to come back on in Santa Teresa, Miranda State, Venezuela.Federico Parra/AFP
Venezuela power cuts
An employee of a butcher shop waits during a power cut in Santa Teresa, Miranda State, Venezuela.Federico Parra/AFP
Venezuela power cuts
A young woman tries to enter a cafe, closed due to a power cut, in Maracay, Venezuela.Juan Barreto/AFP

The daily power cuts are just the latest in a long list of energy-saving measures announced in recent weeks. Maduro has also given public workers Fridays off, declared new national holidays, and said he will shift the country's time zone to help to ease the crisis. He's also suggested that women stop blow drying their hair and that everyone stop ironing their clothes.

To make matters worse in the parched country, Venezuelans will find it increasingly hard to drown their sorrows after the country's largest brewery announced it was halting beer production because of a barley shortage. Cerveceria Polar, maker of the country's best-known brands of beer, said it will run out of the key ingredient on 29 April and is currently unable to get more because it can not access dollars to pay importers under Maduro's tight currency controls.

Venezuela power cuts
The plant of Cerveceria Polar, maker of Venezuela's best-known brands of beer, in Caracas.Federico Parra/AFP

The collapse of oil markets nearly two years ago has left Venezuela struggling to maintain its system of currency and price controls, leaving citizens queueing for hours to buy basic goods like toilet paper and nappies.

Venezuela power cuts
People wait in a long queue to try to buy basic food items in Caracas.Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Venezuela power cuts
Cars queue at a petrol station during a power cut in San Cristobal state.George Castellanos/AFP

Maduro says his government is the victim of an "economic war", led by political adversaries with the support of Washington.