Lake Volta which is one of the largest man-made lake lies along the Prime 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, 520km 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 lake flows from the outlets of the dam’s powerhouse and spillways to the Atlantic Ocean in southern Ghana.
The lake was formed by the Akosombo Dam, which was originally started by the geologist Albert Ernest Kitson in 1915, but his construction only began in 1961 with completion in 1965. Because of the formation of Lake Volta, about 78,000 people were moved to new towns and villages, along with 200,000 animals belonging to them. About 120 buildings were destroyed, and over 3,000 square miles of territories were flooded.
The Akosombo Dam produces 912 Mega Watt of electricity for the country, as well as for export to Togo, Benin, and other nearby countries to earn foreign exchange.
Lake Volta is also important for transportation, providing a conduit for ferries and cargo watercraft. Since the huge lake lies in a tropical area, the water remains warm year-round naturally. If it’s managed well, Lake Volta is the location of a large population of fish and large fisheries. The lake also attracts tourism, and lake voyage for tourists to visit in the island of Dodi.
The main islands within the lake are Dodi, Dwarf, and Kporve.
Digya National Park lies on part of the lake’s western shore.
Recent developments include a large-scale enterprise to harvest timber under water from the flooded forests under Lake Volta.
This project harvests high-value tropical hardwood without requiring additional logging or destruction of existing forest which could generate the largest source of environmentally sustainable natural tropical hardwood in the world.
The Ghanaian-owned company Underwater Forest Resources has committed itself to making such lumber available in the global market, while Flooring Solutions Ghana have become the suppliers of hardwood floors, using the rare wood from the Lake.
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 trees unerwater is improving navigation on the lake and increasing safety as well.
Lake Volta is the largest reservoir by surface area in the world.
An estimation of 7,000 to 10,000 children work in the fishing industry on Lake Volta.
The nature of their employment has been described as slavery.
This has been described as sensualism by Betty Mensah and the academic Samuel Okyere since many of the children and youth whose wages are given upfront to their parents grow up to become self-sufficient fishermen in adulthood, who in turn hire children themselves and could therefore also be characterized as apprentices. They conclude, that many children may suffer under exploitative work but are not enslaved.
Video credit: rkarikari