Ghanean Akossombo Dam is the biggest man-made lake all over the world.
The Volta River Project had been started in 1961 and was completed five
years later in 1966. Furthermore Lake Volta arises from the construction
of the dam across the River Volta, at the South of Ajena and stretches
on a 400 km length. Akossombo's hydrological basin represents 8500 square
21 people died during
the construction. They used raw materials like stones, clay and rocks.
The rock masses which surrounded the dam made the supply of rocks easier.
To blast the latter they used dynamite which was brought by AMPREDILO
( the Italian company which built the dam.
The large quantity
of water in Lake Volta is needed to generate electricity. To produce electricity
the force of water is essential. In fact a vast quantity of water seeps
through the pipes and pushes the turbines which spin. The rotating movement
of the turbines drives the generators which produce electricity. Consequently
this production of electric power is called Hydro Electric Power.
The dam uses 6 turbines
with a magnet on. The water goes on the turbines which turn rapidly in
the contact of water (115 times a minute), makes the magnet free and the
generator on the top turns. Therefore electricity is produced by the electro-magnetic
force which is captured by the transformer and is led to the power station.
The 6 units can produce 912 megawatts.
Owing to the construction
of the hydro-electrical power plant more than 80000 persons who used to
live at the current location of the dam had to move. It goes without saying
that most of them were rehoused in new villages (52). All the same, the
Akossombo hydro-electrical supplied the greatest part of Ghana and is
also exported to Togo and Benin.
The dam produces
much electricity , it goes to Togo Benin, Ivory Coast and Burkina-Faso
and all over the country. However there are companies which take much
electricity : the Volta Aluminium Company is the main consumer of Akossombo's
power. It takes about 213 of the total output. Other principal consumers
are the ECG (Electricity Company of Ghana) and the mining companies.
Even if the Dam provides
electricity, we can remember a power cut period in 1998 in Benin. In fact
due to a drought that year the water level was too low to allow the usual
production of electricity.
In spite of the project
cost 70 million pounds, the power plant allows the creation of 2200 jobs
opportunities in Ghana and 1400 in Akossombo; Those working in the area,
as engineers, managers or technicians who supervise the production of
electricity are used to living there. Because of the ceaseless production
the workers have to work around the clock in shifts (6 to 2P.M., 2 to
10 P.M., 10P.M. to 6A.M.) That reminds us about the situation of coal
miners in Northern France where the miners were extracting coal without
In the Akossombo
Dam people work for a long time. There are 180 male engineers but only
2 female. They have no holidays, therefore all the employees are lodged
close to the dam. The working conditions are good. In fact they have their
own security( day and night) and the hospital is free. But there aren't
many accidents. Furthermore there are 2 trade unions which are fighting
for better work conditions. Indeed employees don't want to pay the electricity
bills, they wish to have a raise, maternity leaves…