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Lake Volta

Related subjects: African Geography

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Lake Volta
View from space (April 1993)
Location west east
Coordinates 6°30′N 0°0′E Coordinates: 6°30′N 0°0′E
Lake type Reservoir
Primary inflows White Volta River
Black Volta River
Primary outflows Volta River
Catchment area 385,180 km2 (148,720 sq mi)
Basin countries Ghana
Surface area 8,502 km2 (3,283 sq mi)
Average depth 18.8 m (62 ft)
Max. depth 75 m (246 ft)
Water volume 148 km3 (32.6 × 1012 gallons)
Shore length1 4,800 kilometres (2,980 mi)
Surface elevation 85 m (279 ft)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.
Lake Volta in Ghana

Lake Volta (located at 6°30′N 0°0′E) is the largest reservoir by surface area in the world, and the fourth largest one by water volume. It is located completely within the country of Ghana, and it has a surface area of about 8,502 km² (3,275 square miles). Lake Volta lies along the Greenwich Meridian, and just six degrees of latitude north of the Equator. The lake's northmost point is close to the town of Yapei, and its southmost extreme is at the Akosombo Dam, 520 kilometers 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 southmost Ghana.

The lake is formed by the Akosombo Dam, which began in 1961 and completed 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.

The Akosombo Dam provides electricity for much of the country, and possibly for export, perhaps 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. Naturally, since the huge lake lies in a tropical area, the water remains warm year-round, and given good management, it is the location of a vast population of fish and large fisheries.

The Digya National Park of Ghana lies on part of the lake's west shore.

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