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Making Every Drop Count Reading Answers IELTS sample

Updated on 13 April, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

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To score the desired band scores in the IELTS exam, you need to practice as many IELTS Reading sample papers as possible. To prepare you better, here is a reading passage for practice with the topic ‘Making every drop count’, along with questions and their answers.

Making every drop count

A. The history of human civilization is entwined with the history of ways we have learned to manipulate water resources. As towns gradually expanded, water was brought from increasingly remote sources, leading to sophisticated engineering efforts such as dams and aqueducts. At the height of the Roman Empire, nine major systems, with an innovative layout of pipes and well-built sewers, supplied the occupants of Rome with as much water per person as is provided in many parts of the industrial world today.

B. During the industrial revolution and population explosion of the 19th and 20th centuries, the demand for water rose dramatically. Unprecedented construction of tens of thousands of monumental engineering projects designed to control floods, protect clean water supplies, and provide water for irrigation and hydropower brought great benefits to hundreds of millions of people. Food production has kept pace with soaring populations mainly because of the expansion of artificial irrigation system that makes possible the growth of 40% of the world's food. Nearly one-fifth of all the electricity generated worldwide is produced by turbines spun by the power of falling water.

C. Yet there is a dark side to this picture: despite our progress, half of the world's population till suffers, with water services inferior to those available to the ancient Greeks and Romans. As the United Nations report on access to water reiterated in November 2001, more than one billion people lack access to clean drinking water: some two and half billion do not have adequate sanitation services. Preventable water-related diseases kill an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 children every day, and the latest evidence suggests that we are falling behind in efforts to solve their problems.

D. The consequences of our water policies extend beyond jeopardizing human health. Tens of millions of people have been forced to move from their homes - often with little warning or compensation - to make way for the reservoirs behind dams. More than 20% of all freshwater fish species are now threatened or endangered because dams and water withdrawals have destroyed the free-flowing river ecosystems where they thrive. Certain irrigation practices degrade soil quality and reduce agricultural productivity. Groundwater aquifers* are being pumped down faster than they are naturally replenished in part of India, China, the USA and elsewhere. And disputes over shared water resources have led to violence and continue to raise local, national and even international tensions.

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aquifers = underground stores of water

At the outset of the new millennium, however, the way resource planners think about water is beginning to change. The focus is slowly shifting back to the provision of basic human and environmental needs as a top priority - ensuring 'some for all,' instead of 'more for some'. Some water experts are now demanding that existing infrastructure be used in smarter ways rather than building new facilities, which is increasingly considered the option of last, not first, resort. This shift in philosophy has not been universally accepted, and it comes with strong opposition from some established water organizations. Nevertheless, it may be the only way to address successfully the pressing problems of providing everyone with clean water to drink, adequate water to grow food and a life free from preventable water-related illness.

Fortunately - and unexpectedly - the demand for water is not rising as rapidly as some predicted. As a result, the pressure to build now water infrastructures has diminished over the past two decades. Although population, industrial output and economic productivity have continued to soar in developed nations, the rate at which people withdraw water from aquifers, rivers and lacks has slowed. And in a few parts of the world, demand has actually fallen.

What explains this remarkable turn of events? Two factors: people have figured out how to use water more efficiently, and communities are rethinking their priorities for water use. Throughout the first three-quarters of the 20th century, the quantity of freshwater consumed per person doubled on average; in the USA, water withdrawals increased tenfold while the population quadrupled. But since 1980, the amount of water consumed per person has actually decreased, thanks to a range of new technologies that help to conserve water in homes and industry. In 1965, for instance, Japan used approximately 13 million gallons* of water to produce $1 million of commercial output; by 1989 this had dropped to 3.5 million gallons (even accounting for inflation) - almost a quadrupling of water productivity. In the USA, water withdrawals have fallen by more than 20% from their peak in 1980.

On the other hand, dams, aqueducts and other kinds of infrastructure will still have to be built, particularly in developing countries where basic human needs have not been met. But such projects must be built to higher specifications and with more accountability to local people and their environment than in the past. And even in regions where new projects seem warranted, we must find ways to meet demands with fewer resources, respecting ecological criteria and to smaller budget.


* 1 gallon: 4.546 liters

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Questions 1-7

Reading Passage has seven paragraphs, A-H.

Choose the correct heading for paragraphs A and C-H from the list of headings below.

Write the correct number, i-xi, in boxes 1-7 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings

i. Scientists’ call for a revision of policy

ii. An explanation for reduced water use

iii. How a global challenge was met

iv. Irrigation systems fall into disuse

v. Environmental effects

vi. The financial cost of recent technological improvements

vii. The relevance to health

viii. Addressing the concern over increasing populations

ix. A surprising downward trend in demand for water

x. The need to raise standards

xi. A description of ancient water supplies

For example:

For Paragraph B - iii. How a global challenge was met is the ideal heading.

  1. Paragraph A
  2. Paragraph C
  3. Paragraph D
  4. Paragraph E 
  5. Paragraph F
  6. Paragraph G 
  7. Paragraph H 

Questions 8-13

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the Reading Passage?

In boxes 8-13 on your answer sheet, write.

YES   if the statement agrees with 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

8. Water use per person is higher in the industrial world than it was in Ancient Rome.

9. Feeding increasing populations is possible due primarily to improved irrigation systems.

10. Modern water systems imitate those of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

11. Industrial growth is increasing the overall demand for water.

12. Modern technologies have led to a reduction in domestic water consumption.

13. In the future, governments should maintain ownership of water infrastructures.






Since this para discusses ancient water supplies, like, during the Roman Empire, nine major systems supplied water to the people.



This para provides information about the relevance of clean water for good health.



It discusses the consequences of our water policies and how it affects the environment.



Because as the new millennium begins, the way resource planners think about water is changing.



Since water demand is not increasing as quickly as some had predicted.



Individuals have learned how to use water more efficiently, and communities are rethinking their water-use priorities to reduce water usage.



Projects should be built to higher standards and with greater regard for local people and the environment than in the past to raise standards.




Q8- 13






Ancient water systems provided the people of Rome with the same amount of water per person that the industrial world provides today.



Food production has kept pace with rising populations, owing primarily to the expansion of artificial irrigation systems.






People's withdrawal of water from aquifers, rivers, and reservoirs has decreased even with industrial growth.



The amount of water consumed per person has actually decreased due to new technologies that aid in water conservation.




Important IELTS Exam Resources

IELTS Exam Overview

IELTS is required to be taken by international students and workers who wish to study or work in a country where English is the primary language of communication. Know the complete details.

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IELTS Exam Syllabus

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IELTS Syllabus

IELTS Exam Pattern

The IELTS exam pattern encompasses four major sections, i.e. listening, speaking, writing, and reading.

IELTS Exam Pattern

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