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Wireless sensor networks are characterized by centralized data gathering, multi-hop communication and many to one traffic pattern. These three characteristics can lead to severe packet collision, network congestion and packet loss, and even result in hot-spots of energy consumption thus causing premature death of sensor nodes and entire network. The proposed load balance data gathering algorithm classifies sensor nodes into different levels according to their distance to base station. Multiple paths are established between sensor node and sink depending on the energy metric and communication cost. This algorithm uses sub-optimal paths occasionally besides the minimum energy path. In order to save energy, data aggregation scheme is adopted as well. Analysis and simulation results show that the proposed algorithm provides more uniform energy consumption among nodes and can prolong network lifetime.