Venezuela anti-government protests
Anti-government protesters hold up chains and shout during a May Day demonstration in Caracas.(Reuters)

Venezuela's government has introduced electricity and water rationing in western Zulia state as well as water rationing in Caracas to in a bid to reduce demand on the national power grid.

Chronic shortages of consumer products and energy - ranging from toilet rolls to milk to water - have plagued the country for months.

The government announced on Wednesday that electricity and water will be rationed as drought threatens reserves at the country's hydroelectric reservoirs and water tanks.

Neighbouring Colombia halted sales of natural gas to Venezuela last week as a period of dry weather known as El Nino approaches. The previous electricity crisis during El Nino in 2009 was followed by six successive quarters of economic growth.

Months of nationwide street protests against the country's President Nicolas Maduro have left dozens dead and the leadership reeling.

Venezuela's economic woes are arguably the most pressing issue facing its leaders.

The country's inflation rate of 56.2% in 2013 was the highest in the region and among the highest in the world.

Caracas suffered two major blackouts in 2013 and electricity cuts are much more frequent in the rest of the country.

State water utility Hidrocapital outlined which parts of Caracas would be affected by the water rationing measures in a statement on its website.

The offices, restaurants and malls of the popular Chacao business district will have no water service on Tuesdays and Saturdays, while water will be restricted to evening use for the rest of the week, it said.

The water-rationing plan will be in place for the duration of the dry season, Environment Minister Miguel Rodriguez said on state television on Tuesday.

Moreover, the scarcity of goods shows the over-reliance on imports and the currency challenges facing the country. The central bank stopped publishing real-time scarcity data in March but the index was running around 20% before that.

Venezuela's economy is predicted to shrink by 1% this year.