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Disappearing Delta IELTS Reading Answers

Updated on 13 April, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

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IELTS Reading tests decide the band score candidates get in the exam. In a 60-minute exam, the applicants are required to show excellent comprehension and language proficiency. To achieve the best results in the reading tests, students must practice as many sample papers as required. Here's a reading passage on "Disappearing Delta” for students to assess their preparation level with questions and appropriate explanations of the answers. 

Disappearing Delta

A: The rate at which the fertile land around the Nile delta erodes on Egypt's Mediterranean coast is simply astounding. The erosion rate can be estimated to be 100 meters a year in some specific parts. Previously, the currents brought along by the Mediterranean Sea scoured away the land from the coast and replaced it with sediment brought by the river Nile delta. Although, it isn’t happening anymore. 

B: Until now, most people blamed the land loss around the delta on the magnificent dams built at the Aswan, in the south of Egypt. It virtually holds back all the sediment that used to flow down the river earlier. Before the construction of dams, the Nile River flowed unabashedly and carried tons of sediment from the north of Africa's interior and brought it to the Nile delta. This kept happening over 7,000 years and eventually covered over 22,000 square kilometres of a region with several layers of rich silt. Floods every year brought new and nutrient-rich soil into the delta region, substituting whatever soil the sea had washed away. This also dispensed away with the requirement of fertilizers used in all the food-growing areas of Egypt. The creation of the Aswan dam in the 20th century helped provide irrigation and electricity and protected the population of Cairo and the surrounding regions from drought and flooding. Most sediments, with their natural fertilizing features, accumulated on the top of the dam in the southern, on the upper half of Nasser Lake, instead of going down in the delta.

C: But there is more to the story. The sediment-less water from Aswan dams still has silt, and it continues to erode the riverbank and bed on the 800-kilometre way to Cairo. A renowned identity from Smithsonian Institute, known as Daniel Jean Stanley, took notice of the water samples picked from Cairo right before the river joined the delta. These samples showed sediments of over 850 grams per cubic meter of water. This was about half of the sediment weight the river carried earlier before the dam's construction. 

D: Stanley from Marine Geology said that he is ashamed not to have taken notice of the significance of the same before he went through 50-60 studies. There is significant sediment in the delta, but none comes out in the Mediterranean to help plenish the coastline. So, this sediment must get trapped in the delta within.

E: The Nile water, once it traverses up of Cairo, gets diverted towards irrigation canals which are over 10,000 kilometres wide and only a minute proportion of the water directly reaches the sea through the delta rivers. As explained by Stanley, the water in irrigation canals moves very slowly, so they cannot carry any sediment. This sediment reaches the bottom of the channel, and then the farmers add it to their fields or pump it with more water into the freshwater lagoons situated on the delta’s outer edges. Very little of this sediment meets the coastline and replaces one that gets washed by Mediterranean currents.

F: Most of Egypt's food supplies are aquaculture, fishing, and farms on delta plains and lagoons. But as the sediment in the lagoons and fields come to rest, it gets laden with agricultural, industrial and municipal waste from the Cairo area, where more than 40 million live. Stanley says that pollutants are building up faster than ever.

G: According to the sediment-related investigations on the delta lagoons, Frederic Siegal from George Washington University also agrees. He says that, as an example, in Manzalah Lagoon, there is an increase of zinc, copper, lead and mercury, which coincided with the construction of a dam at Aswan, the development of power-based industries and the provision of cheap electricity. Ever since then, the concentration of mercury has skyrocketed. Lead usage in engines and fuels from other industrial sources increases exponentially. These toxic elements can effortlessly slip into the food chain and affect the productivity of farming and fishing. Another trouble is that agricultural waste also includes fertilizers which stimulate plant growth in lagoons while disrupting the area's ecology, causing severe impact on the fishing industry.

H: As per Siegel, international organizations concerning the environment are now paying closer attention to this area, partly due to the pollution and erosion of the Nile delta, but primarily out of their fear of how this would impact the entire coastal ecosystem in the Mediterranean region. That said, there are no quick fixes to this. Shortly, Stanley thought that creating artificial floods would clear the delta waterways like natural floods did before dams were constructed. He adds that an alternative reprieve is necessary, such as desalination, which can enhance the volume of water available in the long run. Moreover, he believes Egypt must devise a new way to get more water up and running through the river system and into the delta. Although, that's easier said than done in this desert-like region where the population is constantly rising.

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Questions 1-4

This reading passage is divided into 8 paragraphs, A-H.

Pick the correct heading (i-viii) for the corresponding paragraphs (A-H) and write it in your answer sheet.

List of headings:

  1. Effects of irrigation on sedimentation
  2. Causing pollution in the Mediterranean
  3. The threat to food production
  4. Looking at the long-term impact
  5. The danger of flooding in the Cairo area
  6. Interrupting a natural process
  7. Less valuable sediment than before via Egypt’s disappearing coastline
  8. Paragraph B
  9. Paragraph E
  10. Paragraph G
  11. Paragraph H

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Questions 5-10

Do the following statements reflect the claims of the writer in Reading Passage?

In boxes 5-10 on your answer sheet, write

YES if the statement reflects the claims of the writer

NO if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer

NOT GIVEN if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

5. Coastal erosion occurred along Egypt's Mediterranean coast before the building of the Aswan dams.

6.  Some people predicted that the Aswan dams would cause land loss before they were built.

7. The Aswan dams were built to increase the fertility of the Nile delta.

8.  Stanley found that the levels of sediment in the river water in Cairo were relatively high.

9.  Sediment in the irrigation canals on the Nile delta causes flooding

10.  Water is pumped from the irrigation canals into the lagoons.

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Questions 11-13

Complete the summary of paragraphs E and F with the list of words A-H below.

Write the correct letter A-H in boxes 11-13 on your answer sheet.

A artificial floods

B desalination

C delta waterways

D natural floods

E nutrients

F pollutants

G population control

H sediment



In addition to the problem of coastal erosion, there has been a marked increase in the level of ____11____  contained in the silt deposited in the Nile delta. To deal with this, Stanley suggests the use of _____12_____ in the short term, and increasing the amount of water available through ___13___  in the longer term.

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According to the disappearing delta reading answers, one can find the answer in paragraph B, lines 8-10. It's mentioned there that the creation of the Aswan dam disrupted the natural process of irrigation and electricity.




According to the disappearing delta IELTS reading answers, the answer  can be found in the paragraph E, lines 2-3. It’s mentioned in the paragraph that the effect of irrigation canals is such that the water is slow-moving and cannot take forward sediment. 




According to the disappearing delta reading answers, the third heading, ‘the threat to food production,’ can be found in paragraph G, lines 6-7. It's mentioned that poison from industrial sources can easily sneak into the food chain, impacting farming and fishing as well




According to the disappearing delta reading answers, the answer can be spotted in paragraph H, lines 6-7. In the long term, an alternative process like desalination is necessary to create a long-term impact and ensure water availability. 




In the first paragraph of the disappearing delta reading answers, the writer mentions the high erosion rate along the Mediterranean coast. Hence, this statement is correct. 


Not Available 


Some people have pointed out the loss of land because of the Aswan dams. However, there’s no information available to affirm this assumption in the disappearing delta reading answers





As mentioned in the second statement of paragraph B, the dams were constructed to protect surrounding areas from floods and droughts. The author is clear about the role of dam construction, and therefore, the statement doesn’t match the writer’s intent. 




According to Stanley, studying the impact of dam construction through 50-60 reports, the sediment accumulation is huge in the delta.  Hence, this statement holds true. 



Not Given 


As per the explanation of Stanley, the sediment buildup in the delta remains trapped as there isn’t any detected sediment around the coastline. However, it hasn’t been provided in the paragraph that the sedimentation is the reason behind the Nile flooding. 





In paragraph D, the author mentions the inability of the water to move the fertile sediments. For this reason, the farmers pump the water from the canals into the freshwater lagoons. Therefore, this statement aligns with the writer’s message. 




According to the statements in paragraph E, the fields and lagoons around the coast are laden with waste and pollutants. 




Paragraph F in the disappearing delta reading answers mentions the impact of erosion. Stanley provides a solution to the problem of creating artificial floods to clear the delta water paths as short-term solution.




Explanation: In the long run, desalination is the best method to enhance the water availability in the delta.

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

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