China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs announced that nearly 35 million people have been affected by the worst drought to hit the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River in half a century, state media reported. About 4 million people are having difficulty obtaining drinking water, particularly in the five provinces of Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui and Jiangsu. In response, China has increased the amount of water being discharged from the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project, from 10 to 20 percent. This effort has increased downstream water levels, but supply still remains insufficient to meet demand for drinking water and irrigation. The dam is also nearing the limit of its dischargeable volume: Discharges have already emptied the reservoir of four-fifths of its dischargeable volume, and the remainder is expected to be exhausted in less than two weeks.