The Akosombo Hydroelectric Plant

Name of Project:
Akosombo Hydroelectric Plant


Volta River Authority on behalf of the Government of Ghana

Construction period:

Akosombo is a dam on the Volta River in the southeastern region of Ghana, where it is responsible for the largest artificial body of water in the world: Lake Volta.

The plant consists of a main dam, a secondary dam, intakes, a power station on the right bank and two spillways on the left.

The main dam is a rockfill dam with a clay core: the crest length is about 700 m and its maximum height is 134 m.

The project’s construction, begun in 1961, had to confront the challenge of excavating extremely hard ground (the quartzite that was dug up was then used to build the dam). It also faced the difficulties posed by the overflowing of one of the largest African rivers.

The project led to the creation of Lake Volta, one of the largest artificial basins in the world with a surface area of 8,500 km2 which meant it occupied 3.6% of the territory of Ghana.

The dam was completed five years later, one month ahead of schedule despite the massive flooding that interrupted work for more than three months in 1963, one of the most delicate phases of the project.

Akosombo has been described as the largest and most ambitious project built in Ghana since its independence in 1957. It represented economic progress for the country. It was also multi-purpose: in addition to the generation of electricity, it enabled large-scale irrigation, the modernization of agriculture, the development of factories and industries, and the creation of tourism.

Maximum height: 134 m
Crest length: approximately 700 m
Main dam volume: 8,400,000 m3
Artificial storage capacity: 144,000,000,000 m3