ABSTRACT

Appeaning Addo, K.; Nicholls, R.J.; Codjoe, S.N.A., and Abu, M., 2018. A biophysical and socioeconomic review of the Volta delta, Ghana.

Delta regions are dynamic and rich environments with diverse economic activities and are often densely populated. Deltas are being shaped by multiple drivers, including changes in sediment delivery to the coastal zone due to catchment changes, especially construction of dams on major rivers, intensified agriculture and/or aquaculture, mining, urbanisation, human-induced subsidence, climate change, and sea-level rise. These environmental challenges have significant implications for the livelihoods of delta residents. Thus, the integrated assessment of deltas is now attracting the attention of the scientific research community to analyse and understand deltas as coupled biophysical and socioeconomic systems. Most attention has been focussed on the major deltas. This review focusses on the smaller but regionally significant Volta delta, Ghana. Previous scientific studies are limited, with more focus upstream on the Volta River basin. Many contemporary problems are recognised in the Volta delta, especially erosion and flooding of the open coast fringe, such as at the town of Keta. However, these problems are treated independently, which may hinder identifying the root causes and the most effective solutions. Equally, the emergence of new problems might be anticipated and hence better managed or even avoided. This paper reviews the present delta with emphasis on biophysical processes and socioeconomic characteristics and considers in particular the current drivers and challenges. With this information, a research agenda will be established for a more systemic approach to understanding the Volta delta, including its residents and development.

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