Threading its way from the semi-arid scrub of the Sahel, through the lush tropical farmlands of Southern Ghana, the Volta River supports the livelihoods of millions of West Africans. It underpins much of the region’s agriculture, and is central to economic growth through hydropower generation and the provision of water for mining and aluminum production. Its waters also support productive fisheries, livestock and a growing tourism industry.
One huge piece of water infrastructure dominates the basin. Built in the 1960s, the imposing Akosombo Dam, and the huge reservoir its construction created (the world’s largest man- made lake) has given Ghana the benefits of both hydropower and relative water security. There are now plans by Ghana, Burkina Faso and the other riparian states, to build more dams to increase electricity production and expand irrigation in the basin.