Volta River

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Volta River
The Adomi Bridge crosses the Volta river south of the Akosombo Dam.
Volta River basin map.svg
Map of the Volta River drainage basin and its main three tributaries, the White Volta, Red Volta, and Black Volta rivers
Physical characteristics
Mouth Gulf of Guinea
Atlantic Ocean
5°46′N0°41′E / 5.767°N 0.683°E / 5.767; 0.683 Coordinates: 5°46′N0°41′E / 5.767°N 0.683°E / 5.767; 0.683 [1]
Length1,500 km (930 mi)
Basin size407,093 km2 (157,179 sq mi) [2]
  location Mouth [3]
  average1,210 m3/s (43,000 cu ft/s) [3]

The Volta River is the main river system in the West African country of Ghana. It flows south into Ghana from Bobo-Dioulasso highlands of Burkina Faso. The main parts of the river are the Black Volta, the White Volta, and the Red Volta. In the northwest, the Black Volta forms the international borders between the Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Burkina Faso. The Volta flows southward along Akwapim-Togoland highlands, and it empties into the Atlantic Ocean at the Gulf of Guinea at Ada Foah. It has a smaller tributary river, the Oti, which enters Ghana from Togo in the east. The Volta River has been dammed at Akosombo for the purpose of generating hydroelectricity. The reservoir named Lake Volta stretches from Akosombo Dam in the south to the northern part of the country, and is the largest man-made reservoir by area in the world. [4]


Volta was named by the Portuguese, meaning twist or turn.

The reservoir

Lake Volta is a reservoir impounded by the Akosombo Dam on the lower Volta River in southern Ghana. It is one of the largest reservoirs in the world. It extends from the Akosombo Dam in southeastern Ghana to the town of Yapei in the Central Gonja District, Northern Region of Ghana, some 400 kilometres (250 mi) to the north.

The dam's power plant generates electricity for the Volta River Authority, and the reservoir also provides water transport routes. It may be a resource for irrigation and fish farming.

The depth of the river is about 45 feet (14 m) below Lake Volta. The Volta River is crossed by the Adome Bridge just below the Akosombo Dam.


The Volta River was named by Portuguese gold traders in Ghana. It was their farthest extent of exploration before returning (volta is Portuguese for "twist" or "turn"). [5] "River of return" (perhaps because it was where ships turned around and headed for home) or “river of the bend”, in reference to its curved course. [5] [6]

See also

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Ghana is a West African country in Africa, along the Gulf of Guinea, just a few degrees north of the equator.

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Akosombo Dam Dam in Akosombo, Ghana

The Akosombo Dam, also known as the Volta Dam, is a hydroelectric dam on the Volta River in southeastern Ghana in the Akosombo gorge and part of the Volta River Authority. The construction of the dam flooded part of the Volta River Basin, and led to the subsequent creation of Lake Volta. The flooding that created the Lake Volta reservoir displaced many people and had a significant impact on the local environment. Lake Volta is the largest man-made lake in the world by surface area. It covers 8,502 square kilometres (3,283 sq mi), which is 3.6% of Ghana's land area. With a volume of 148 cubic kilometers, Lake Volta is the world's third largest man-made lake by volume, the largest being Lake Kariba which is located between Zimbabwe and Zambia in Southern Africa and contains 185 cubic kilometers of water.

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The Black Volta or Mouhoun is a river that flows through Burkina Faso flowing about 1,352 km (840 mi) to the White Volta in Dagbon, Ghana. The source of the Black Volta is in the Cascades Region of Burkina Faso, close to Mount Tenakourou, the highest point of the country. Further downstream it forms part of the border between Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire and Burkina Faso. Within Ghana, it forms the border between the Savannah Region and the Bono Region. The Bui Dam is built on the river in Ghana. The river bisects Bui National Park in Ghana.

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White Volta Headstream of the Volta River

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Kpong Dam Dam in Akuse

The Kpong Dam, also known as the Akuse Dam, is a hydroelectric power generating dam on the lower Volta River near Akuse in Ghana. It is owned and operated by Volta River Authority. It was constructed between 1977 and 1982. Its power station has a capacity of 148 megawatts (198,000 hp) with all four units running, though the total nameplate capacity is 160 megawatts (210,000 hp).

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  1. Volta at GEOnet Names Server
  2. Volta Archived 2005-10-26 at the Wayback Machine , Watersheds of the World. Water Resources eAtlas. Retrieved on October 6, 2007.
  3. 1 2 Volta River, Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition. Retrieved on October 6, 2007.
  4. "Lake Volta, Ghana". Visible Earth. NASA. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  5. 1 2 Volta - etymology
  6. Wilks,Ivor. Wangara, Akan, and Portuguese in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries (1997). Bakewell, Peter (ed.). Mines of Silver and Gold in the Americas. Aldershot: Variorum, Ashgate Publishing Limited. p. 15.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

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