Lake Volta

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Lake Volta
Volta lake.jpg
Space Imaging view of Lake Volta from the International Space Station in Space, by NASA.
Volta river black white red descriptions.PNG
Lake Volta in Ghana
LocationGhana, West Africa
Coordinates6°30′N 0°0′E / 6.500°N 0.000°E / 6.500; 0.000Coordinates: 6°30′N 0°0′E / 6.500°N 0.000°E / 6.500; 0.000
Lake typeReservoir
Primary inflowsWhite Volta River
Black Volta River
Primary outflowsVolta River
Catchment area385,180 km2 (148,720 sq mi)
Basin countriesGhana
Surface area8,502 km2 (3,283 sq mi)
Average depth18.8 m (62 ft)
Max. depth75 m (246 ft)
Water volume148 km3 (32.6 × 1012 gallons)
Shore length14,800 kilometres (2,980 mi)
Surface elevation85 m (279 ft)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lake Volta, the largest artificial reservoir in the world in terms of surface area, is contained behind the Akosombo Dam.[1] It is completely within the country of Ghana and has a surface area of 8,502 square kilometres (3,283 sq mi). Stretching from Akosombo in the south to the northern part of the country, it is one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the world.[2][3]


Lake Volta lies along the Greenwich meridian, and just six degrees of latitude north of the Equator. The lake's northernmost point is close to the town of Yapei, and its southernmost extreme is at the Akosombo Dam, 520 km (320 mi) downstream from Yapei. Akosombo Dam holds back both the White Volta River and the Black Volta River, which formerly converged where the middle of the reservoir now lies, to form the single Volta River. The present Volta River flows from the outlets of the dam's powerhouse and spillways to the Atlantic Ocean in southern Ghana.

The main islands within the lake are Dodi, Dwarf, and Kporve.[4] Digya National Park lies on part of the lake's western shore.


The lake is formed by the Akosombo Dam, which was originally conceived by the geologist Albert Ernest Kitson in 1915, but whose construction only began in 1961 with completion in 1965. Because of the formation of Lake Volta, about 78,000 people were relocated to new towns and villages, along with 200,000 animals belonging to them. About 120 buildings were destroyed, not including small residences, as over 3,000 square miles (7,800 km2) of territory were flooded.


The Akosombo Dam provides electricity for much of the country, as well as for export to Togo, Benin, and nearby countries, to earn foreign exchange value. Lake Volta is also important for transportation, providing a waterway for both ferries and cargo watercraft. Since the huge lake lies in a tropical area, the water remains warm year-round naturally. Given good management, Lake Volta is the location of a vast population of fish and large fisheries.

The lake also attracts tourism, and tourist cruises visit the island of Dodi.[4]

Recent developments include a large-scale enterprise to harvest submerged timber from the flooded forests under Lake Volta. This project harvests high-value tropical hardwood without requiring additional logging or destruction of existing forest and, according to Wayne Dunn, "could generate the largest source of environmentally sustainable natural tropical hardwood in the world."[5] The Ghanaian-owned company Underwater Forest Resources has committed itself to making said lumber available in the global market, while Flooring Solutions Ghana have become the suppliers of hardwood floors, using the rare wood from the Lake.[citation needed] In addition to generating foreign currency for the region and reducing the dependence of locals on fishing as a primary economic activity, the removal of submerged trees is improving navigation on the lake and increasing safety.[5]

An estimated 7,000 to 10,000 child slaves work in the fishing industry on Lake Volta.[6]

Panorama and landscape of Lake Volta in Ghana: Lake Volta is the largest reservoir by surface area in the world.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Top 10 Man-made Lakes in the world". Retrieved 2017-10-28.
  2. ^ "Lake Volta, Ghana". Visible Earth. NASA. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  3. ^ "Largest, Tallest, Biggest, Shortest". McqsPoint. McqsPoint. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Dodi Island cruises". Archived from the original on 2010-10-31.
  5. ^ a b "Harvesting an Underwater Forest". Archived from the original on March 4, 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2011.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link)
  6. ^ "Sons for Sale".

External links[edit]