Lake Volta is a large reservoir contained behind the Akosombo Dam. It is completely within the country of Ghana and has a surface area of 8,502 square kilometres (3,283 sq mi).
The lake is formed by the Akosombo Dam, which was originally conceived by the geologist Albert Ernest Kitson in 1915, but whose construction only began in 1961 with completion in 1965. Because of the formation of Lake Volta, about 78,000 people were relocated to new towns and villages, along with 200,000 animals belonging to them. About 120 buildings were destroyed, not including small residences, as over 3,000 square miles (7,800 km2) of territory were flooded.
Lake Volta is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. It is about 250 miles (400 km) long and covers 3,283 square miles (8,502 square km), or 3.6 percent of Ghana’s area. The lake’s creation involved the inundation of 15,000 homes and of 740 villages and the resettlement of 78,000 people. The lake is navigable and provides a cheap route linking Ghana’s northern savanna with the coast. It also is a major fishing ground and provides irrigation water for farmland in the dry Accra Plains lying immediately below the damsite. The generating capacity of the dam’s hydroelectric power plant is 912 megawatts of electricity; this power is used by the aluminum smelter located at the port of Tema on the Gulf of Guinea and supplies most of Ghana’s other electricity needs as well.