IELTS >> Academic Reading >> In the Academic module of the IELTS exam, there are three reading passages with a total of 40 questions spread across a wide variety of reading comprehension exercises: gap fill, paragraph matching, multiple choice, open questions, etc.

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IELTS Academic Reading - Worksheet 26

Complete the summary using the list of words, A-M, below. For each space, write only the correct letter.

A battle in Nevada is taking place over precious _______. Las Vegas has seen a _______ in its population in recent decades, the vast majority of Nevadans living within its boundaries. The usual sources of water are running low and the water authorities are looking elsewhere. The Goshute Indian Reservation, many miles to the north, looks to be an _______, but there are underground water supplies here.

The native Americans in the area have a fear that Las Vegas' _______ will leave them high and dry. They say the area is suffering from a _______ and there's no guarantee that the water taken by Las Vegas will be replaced. Those who are for the scheme say the world is changing and many cities globally are going to have to make _______ to get their water from other sources - and it's going to be expensive.

A. lengthy drought
B. ample territory
C. long-term plans
D. amazing productivity
E. public availability
F. huge increase
G. wet lands
H. water resources
I. selfish dishonesty
J. arid desert
K. drastic cut
L. thirsty needs
M. dry era

Native Americans And Las Vegas Battle Over Water

By night, the Las Vegas Strip sparkles like a sequined jumpsuit. Marquee lights flash and giant LED screens blaze along the six-kilometre constellation of casinos, hotels and shopping malls. This is the Las Vegas of legend. It's a big part of what draws 40 million visitors to the city each year. But from the hills outside the city, the shimmer of the Strip is swallowed up by a shining sea of suburbs. After two decades as the nation's fastest growing metro area, Las Vegas now sprawls across 500 square miles. The population has nearly tripled since 1990. Three-quarters of the population of Nevada lives in the Las Vegas area. It generates 70 percent of the state's gross domestic product, including $6.5 billion in gambling revenue on the Strip alone. The unprecedented growth of this desert oasis would not have been possible without Lake Mead, just over the hills to the east. Ninety percent of the city's water comes from this one overburdened, dwindling source. Las Vegas urgently needs to diversify.

To the casual observer, the Goshute Native American reservation is not a promising place to look for water. The road to the reservation, 275 miles north of Las Vegas, runs laser-straight through wide-open valleys of dry grass and scrub. The hills run the full spectrum of browns and greys, lit orange and gold by the setting sun. It's breathtaking, but it's dry. The name "Goshute" means "desert people" in the tribe's Shoshone language. There is water to be found here, however.

Former tribal chairman Ed Naranjo leads the way through a patch of fragrant sagebrush to a clear, cold spring rushing out from under a hillside. Bonneville cutthroat trout swim in the currents. The water disappears in spots under a carpet of watercress. An underground aquifer feeds this spring. It's the water underneath this valley and four others nearby that has drawn the attention of Las Vegas. The Southern Nevada Water Authority plans to tap these aquifers through a multi-billion-dollar pipeline supplying the growing metropolis to the south. But Naranjo says pumping water from this desert valley would be the end of the Goshute people. "We've been here for years living on the desert, and we've adapted," he said. "But you can push it only so far [before you] just can't continue to live." There is virtually no industry here. One of the tribe's few sources of income is selling permits to visitors to hunt elk that live in the mountains. If the water table drops and the springs and vegetation dry up, "the elk are going to move elsewhere," Naranjo said, "and that's going to be one hell of an impact on our tribe."

It's not just the Goshutes concerned about the pipeline. Farmers, ranchers and small towns in the valleys depend on the underground aquifers. Tom Baker's centre-pivot irrigators paint half-mile-wide circles of green alfalfa in the desert sand. Three generations of Bakers have raised cattle and crops here in Baker, Nevada, population 68. "Water is the basis for everything we do," Baker said. "Without water, the land here is, in ways, virtually useless. If we have water, it can be incredibly productive." But Baker said he's not even sure pumping water to irrigate his crops is sustainable, let alone supplying Las Vegas.

And then there's the impact on the fragile desert ecosystem. Baker said drawing down the water table will dry up much of the deep-rooted vegetation that survives here. And he said the soils in many areas may be too harsh for even the hardiest plants to tolerate. Many worry the area will become a dust bowl. "It's a huge experiment over a huge area," Baker said.

The view from Las Vegas

Pat Mulroy spent the last quarter-century securing Las Vegas' water supply. She retired as head of the Southern Nevada Water Authority last February after fighting for the pipeline since 1989. But, she said, Las Vegas is not out to steal the valleys' water. According to Mulroy, the project can supply the city without destroying the livelihoods of farmers, ranchers and Native Americans. "I don't think we would ever have embarked on it if we didn't know that it was possible," she added. "There is nothing that would justify Southern Nevada having water at the expense of its neighbours in the north." Opponents have the wrong idea, she said. These groundwater sources would be a safety net, not a regular supply, to be used only in years when the Colorado River falls short.

Environmental law limits the amount of water the city can take and how much damage pumping could do, Mulroy noted. The project would be closely monitored, and the water authority would be required to protect sensitive areas and recharge aquifers it depletes. As she sees it, climate change and growing populations mean many cities around the world - not just in the U.S. Southwest - are going to have to spend a great deal of money to build networks of water sources they won't be using every year. "We're going to have to use water supplies as they are available," she said. "We're going to have to let groundwater basins rest. We're going to have to do a lot of artificial recharge when Mother Nature gives us that opportunity. And certain parts of our system are going to sit dormant for certain years."

The conflict between Las Vegas and the northern valleys has deep historical roots, Mulroy said. The cautionary tale on many rural Nevadans' minds is California's Owens Valley, which dried up when Los Angeles diverted its water supply in the early 20th century. But in Mulroy's view, urban and rural residents don't have to be enemies. Cities can build the infrastructure to recharge groundwater basins in rural areas, which don't have the money or the know-how. "If I'm a rural Nevadan, I can't picture that," she said. "When I look into my rearview mirror, all I see is a threat." But Mulroy said everyone is going to have to give some in order to meet the coming demands. That includes the environment, she says, and the groups defending it. "If we all have to give to be part of the solution, so must they," Mulroy said. "They can't expect the natural environs in a changing world to stay unchanged. And they have to get beyond protection to mitigation. And they have to find a way to partner with urban areas."

But valley residents do not trust authorities in Las Vegas. Ed Naranjo is not convinced the water authority would ever turn the pipeline off after spending billions of dollars to turn it on. And he doesn't put much faith in the city's ability to restore the water it takes. "We're in a drought, everybody knows that," he said. "Do you stop and think, 'Wait a minute, how are we going to recharge this?'" The Colorado River depends on snowfall far upstream in the Rocky Mountains. But there hasn't been much snow in recent years. And climate change likely will bring even less. "Nobody can say, 'OK, we're going to have a heavy winter, we're going to replenish it, there will always be water,'" Naranjo said. "That's not going to happen."

The courts have so far sided with the valleys. But the appeals continue. It may be years before the issue is settled. Meanwhile, the drought drags on, raising the stakes for Las Vegas. But the city known for extravagance has a surprisingly thrifty side.

Source: VOA News Premium

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