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The North China Plain is the Chinese counterpart to the North American Great Plains. This largest plain in China suffers frequently from drought. Although agricultural production has been significantly increased in recent years, it is still far too low and too unstable to compensate for population growth and the demands of a rising standard of living. One of the major factors limiting agricultural development on the North China Plain is drought. A complication is that not only have surface and underground water resources been utilized almost to their limits for agrarian needs but also water shortages due to rapidly mounting urban and industrial demands have become more and more acute. At the same time, perhaps ironically, too much water is also a menace to the North China Plain. Poor drainage and soil salinization are characteristic of extensive areas, and the potential hazard of inundations from the Yellow River is a historic and worsening problem.