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INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT OF THE WATER RESOURCES OF THE VOLTA LAKE IN GHANA THE VRA EXPERIENCE

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Emmanuel M. K. Amekor
EMMANUEL M. K. AMEKOR (PRINCIPAL ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICER) ENVIRONMENT & SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT VOLTA RIVER AUTHORITY, P. O.BOX 77, AKOSOMBO - GHANA e-mail: eamekor@yahoo.com Mobile: 233 244 779983 Fax: 233-251-21167

Keyword(s): Water resources, Hydropower generation, Lake Transport, Inland Fisheries, Fisheries Research and Development, Public Health Service, Tourism, Urban Water Supply, Irrigation, and Environmental/
Oral:
AbstractThe Volta River Authority (VRA) in Ghana was established under the Volta River Development Act 1961 (Act 46) with the primary function of generating electric power, first by the development of the hydroelectric potential of the Volta River for the supply of electrical energy for industrial, commercial and domestic use in Ghana. The Akosombo Dam/Hydroelectric Plant was therefore constructed and commissioned in 1965 to fulfil this legal mandate by generating power utilizing the water resources of the resultant Volta Lake. The water resource is derived from the Volta Lake which has a surface area of about 8500 km2 with an average depth of about 18.8 meters and a shoreline of about 5,500 km. The total volume of water in the reservoir at full supply level of about 84.73 m is approximately 150 billion m3. Due to the general north/south orientation, the Volta Lake serves as waterway for water transport for both large and small vessels. The Volta Lake Transport Company Limited was set up in 1970 to operate as a public carrier on the lake. VLTC also provides cross-lake ferry services at few landing points. In addition, private boats serving as the only means of transport of goods in some of the lake areas are engaged in profitable commercial activities. The Volta Lake also constitutes an important resource for fish production. Current figures indicate that about 17% of national fish production is from inland fresh water sources, the bulk of this coming from the Volta Lake. The Volta reservoir has also brought about possibilities of commercial irrigation. Examples include the Kpong Farms limited established by VRA as a subsidiary company to promote leadership in agricultural systems, irrigation practices and food processing technologies. Other private commercial farms are now being established along the Volta basin. Notable among these is a banana plantation, established by the Volta River Estates Limited on the Kpong Headpond to cultivate banana mainly for export. The company is utilizing a large-scale irrigation system with water from the lake. The Ghana Water Company (GWC) is responsible for drinking water supplies all over the country. Its urban supply to the cities of Accra and Tema for both industrial and commercial activities is abstracted from the Volta Lake at Kpong. Currently 180,000 m3/day is being abstracted with an expected ultimate abstraction of 550,000 m3/day. The water resources of the lake is also utilized for water supply to other cities and towns such as Tamale, Ho, Sogakope, Ada, and Anloga etc. In the utilisation of the lake resources for rendering tourism services, the Akosombo Hotels Limited (a VRA subsidiary) operates an international 3-Star hotel, the Volta Hotel, at Akosombo and runs a regular weekend cruise with a vessel to the Dodi Island, which is about 26 kilometres from the Akosombo port. The presentation will also highlight the integrated use of the waters of the Volta Lake in other areas such as livestock breeding, fisheries research, shoreline agriculture among others. Some of the projects being undertaken to solve health, environmental, socio-economic problems of riparian communities in the lake area will be elaborated.
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