This report gives a general summary of the availability and use of ground water and describes the occurrence of ground water in five major geohydrologic provinces lying in the eight administrative regions of Ghana. The identification and delineation of the geohydrologic provinces are based on their distinctive characteristics with respect to the occurrence and availability of ground water.
The Precambrian province occupies the southern, western, and northern parts of Ghana and is underlain largely by intrusive crystalline and metasedimentary rocks. The Voltaian province includes that part of the Voltaian sedimentary basin in central Ghana and is underlain chiefly by consolidated sandstone, mudstone, and shale. Narrow discontinuous bands of consolidated Devonian and Jurassic sedimentary rocks near the coast constitute the Coastal Block Fault province.
The Coastal Plain province includes semiconsolidated to unconsolidated sediments of Cretaceous to Holocene age that underlie coastal plain areas in southwestern and southeastern Ghana. The Alluvial province includes the Quaternary alluvial deposits in the principal river valleys and on the delta of the Volta River. Because of the widespread distribution of crystalline and consolidated sedimentary rocks of low permeability in the Precambrian, Voltaian, and Coastal Block Fault provinces, it is difficult to develop large or event adequate groundwater supplies in much of Ghana. On the other hand, small (1 to 50 gallons per minute) supplies of water of usable quality are available from carefully sited boreholes in most parts of the country. Also, moderate (50 to 200 gpm) supplies of water are currently (1964) obtained from small-diameter screened boreholes tapping sand and limestone aquifers in the Coastal Plain province in southwestern and southeastern Ghana, but larger supplies could be obtained through properly constructed boreholes. In the Alluvial province, unconsolidated deposits in the larger stream valleys that are now largely undeveloped offer desirable locations for shallow vertical or horizontal wells, which can induce infiltration from streams and yield moderate to large water supplies.
The principal factors that limit development of ground-water supplies in Ghana are (1) prevailing low permeability and water-yielding potential of the crystalline and consolidated sedimentary rocks that underlie most of the country, (2) highly mineralized ground water which appears to be widely distributed in the northern part of the Voltaian province, and (3) potential problems of salt-water encroachment in the Coastal Plain province in the Western Region and in the Keta area.
On the other hand, weathering has increased porosity and has thus substantially increased the water-yielding potential of the crystalline and consolidated sedimentary rocks in much of central and northern Ghana. Also, with proper construction and development, much larger yields than those now (1964) prevalent could be obtained from boreholes tapping sand and limestone aquifers in the Coastal Plain province.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
A ground-water reconnaissance of the Republic of Ghana, with a description of geohydrologic provinces