Water, climate, food, and environment in the Volta Basin. Contribution to the project ADAPT, Adaptation strategies to changing environments
The Volta Basin is located in West Africa and lies within latitudes 5o.30’’ N and 14o 30’’ N and longitudes 2o.00’’ E and 5o.30’’W. The main channel is 1400km and it drains 400,000km2 of the semi-arid and sub –humid savanna area. The basin lies mainly in Ghana (42%) and Burkina Faso (43%) with minor parts in Togo, Cote d´Ivoire, Mali and Benin. Ghana occupies the downstream part of the basin. A dominating feature of the basin is Lake Volta, which is the largest man-made in the world in terms of surface area (4% of total area of Ghana). The lake was created to generate hydropower at Akosombo and Kpong (1060MW), which is 100km north of its estuary. Water Resources plays a vital role in the promotion of economic growth and reduction of poverty in Ghana. There is rapidly increasing demand for water in industries (particularly hydropower generation, agriculture, mining, recreation domestic and industrial consumption and environmental enhancement). With these demands, water supplies will be severely stretched and pollution problems and environmental degradation are likely to increase. The situation will worsen as the population continues to grow, urbanisation increases, standard of living rises, mining becomes widespread and human activities are diversified. Lower rainfall amounts over the years due to longer dry seasons have led to more and more tributaries as well as main rivers drying up quickly, leading to lesser amounts of surface and ground waters available for the increasing population.