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Most routing protocols for sensor networks try to extend network lifetime by minimizing the energy consumption, but have not taken the network reliability into account. To be adaptive to the harsh environment, we propose an energy-aware, load-balancing and fault-tolerant routing scheme, termed as ELFR. We first present a network robustness model. Based on this model, we design the route discovery phase to make the sensors to construct into a hop-leveled network which is mesh structure. We adopt a cross-layer design to measure the transmission delay so as to detect the failed nodes. The routing scheme works with ACK feedback mechanism to transfer control messages to avoid producing extra control overhead messages. When nodes fail, the new healthy paths will be selected locally without rerouting. Simulation results show that our scheme is much robust, and it achieves better energy efficiency, load balancing and maintains good end-to-end delay.