As with most periods of rapid economic growth and intensive resource use, many problems arise. In the case of northern China, however, because of the importance of water, much attention has been focused on the sector's problems (Smil, 1993; Brown and Halweil, 1998; Ministry of Water Resources and Nanjing Water Institute, 2004). In fact, we believe there are many mispercep-tions about the nature of China's water problems - especially as they relate to the rural economy. In many cases, problems, although serious regionally, are not national in scope. Other problems are often confined to urban or rural areas, but not both. Of course, most of the misperceptions are not intentional, but a result of poor information. The goal of this section is to try to provide a brief assessment of the main problems facing China's groundwater economy. Given the fact that most of the work in the past has had an urban focus, our work centers on those problems affecting the rural sector.
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