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physical characteristics

Keta Municipal, with Keta as the capital is one of the 18 administrative districts of the Volta Region.  It was carved out of the former Anlo District, which also comprised Akatsi and Ketu Districts.

The Municipality lies within Longitudes 0.30E and 1.05E and Latitudes 5.45N and 6.005N.  It is located east of the Volta estuary, about 160km to the east of Accra, off the Accra-Aflao main road. It shares common borders with Akatsi district to the north, Ketu district to the east, South Tongu district to the west and the Gulf of Guinea to the south. 

Out of the total surface area of 1,086km2, approximately 362km2 (about 30 per cent) is covered by water bodies.  The largest of these is Keta Lagoon, which is about 12 km at its widest section and 32km long.  Hence, the remaining land area is only 724km2 a situation which creates severe constraints on access to land for development in the Municipality  However, fishing and water transportation potentials exist.

Keta Municipal is a low-lying coastal plain with the highest point of only 53 metres above sea level around Abor in the north.  The lowest point is approximately between 1-3.5 metres below sea level along the coast around Vodza, Kedzi and Keta township.

Three main geographic belts may be identified namely the Narrow Coastal Strip, the Lagoon Basin of the middle belt and the Plains of the North. The Coastal Strip is marked by sand bars with a few sea cliffs bordering the coast.  This belt is affected by severe sea erosion the worst hit areas include Keta, Kedzikope, Vodza, Kedzi and Horvi.

The general elevation of the lagoon basin is also below sea level.  It is made up of lagoons and islands such as Atiavi, Alakple, Seva, Anyako and Dudu.  The basin is generally marshy due to the underlying sandy-clay geological formation.

The Northern plains are generally gently undulating with a relatively higher elevation of about 50 metres above sea level. The generally low-lying nature has exposed particularly the eastern parts of the coastal strip to intense sea erosion and occasional flooding.  Notwithstanding, a great irrigation potential exists. Fig 2.3 shows the drainage pattern of the district.  The main drainage basins are the lagoons, which together constitutes about 362km2. 

The major lagoons include Keta, Angaw Agbatsivi, Logui, Nuyi and Klomi.  Into this basin drains some streams and distributaries of the Volta River.  These include such streams as Angor, Avida, (near Hatorgodo), Awafla (near Awaflakpota), Nukpehui (in the north-western part of the district), Tordzie and Kplikpa. Many of the creeks are dwindling in size due to low rainfall, excessive evaporation and siltation.  As a result, the volume of water in the lagoon has drastically declined and tends to fluctuate seasonally, leading to the emergence of several islands in the Keta, Angor and Agbatsivi lagoons. 

The biggest among the Islands are Seva and Dudu, which are partially inhabited.  The potential for water transport is not well developed, as only the slow moving local canoe is still the main vehicle. 

The entire Municipality falls within the coastal savanna zone.  However, five (5) vegetational zones can be reclassified.
  • The northern part of the municipality marked by tall grasses and interspersed with medium sized trees with relatively higher density.
  • The mid-section of the municipality with short grasses and short trees with occasional occurrence of “Pamira” palm and baobab trees.
  • South-western part, characterized by mangrove plants along the     Volta estuary and tall grasses used for fuel, and mat/hat weaving      Respectively
  • South-eastern part along the coast from Whuti with short grasses and many neem trees.  Most of the coconut trees along the coast have been affected by the Cape St. Paul Wilt disease. This has had a major influence on the pattern of rainfall in the Municipality.
  • Pockets of land mostly along the Dabala-Srogboe-Whuti highway that supports little or no vegetation. 
The Municipality falls within the Dry Coastal Equatorial Climate with an annual average rainfall of less than 1,000mm.  The amount of rainfall reduces as one travels from the north to the coastal parts where only about 800mm annual may be recorded.  The district is thus one of the driest along the coast of Ghana.

The Municipality experiences a double maximum rainfall pattern.  The major rainy season is between March and July while the minor one begins in September and ends in November .These coincide with the main and minor cropping seasons in the Municipality. The high average temperatures (about 30oC), couple with low relative humidities, promote high evapo-transpiration. Thus, the total amount of rain is relatively low.  Apart from this, the pattern shows a declining trend and the distribution over the year is highly uneven. 

The high evapo-transpiration also exacerbates the general water deficient conditions.  Hence, all-year-round cropping is severely constrained and apart from the vegetable farming around Anloga which depends largely on irrigation, other farmers therefore practice rain-fed agriculture.

The Municipality falls within the Dry Coastal Equatorial Climate with annual average rainfall of less than 1000mm.  The major rainy season is between March and July while minor one begins on September and ends in November. Average temperature is about 30 C with low relative humility The entire Municipality falls within the coastal savanna zone.

Distribution of main soil types in Keta district
The distribution generally follows the major geographic units already identified.  Along the coastal strip are the Oyibi-Muni and Keta Associations characterized by sandy soils often without any top layer of humus.  Naturally, it supports coconut cultivation.  When manured, it supports shallot, okro, pepper and other vegetables.  In fact, this strip is the leading shallot producing area in Ghana though it covers only about 11 per cent of the Municipality (excluding lagoons). 

Soils in the lagoon basin (Ada-Oyibi Association) are very shallow, overlying a hard and compact clay formation. The soil is generally alkaline and supports mangrove vegetation, sugar- cane, and grass for pasture.  Due to the underlying clay, this area is liable to flood and not suitable for arable farming though it covers over 75 per cent of the total dry land of the district. The Toje-Alajo

Association covers the Northern plains around Abor constituting about 14 per cent of the municipality (lagoon excluded).  It is relatively deep and supports crops like cassava, maize and legumes.Thus, apart from severally constrained access to land, nearly 80 per cent of the land is covered by soils not suitable for cultivation.  Besides, the ranges of crops cultivated are limited on account of poor soils and dry climatic conditions. The implication is that crop farming is adversely affected.  In fact, further analysis indicates that the Municipality is a net importer of foodstuffs.

Surface Accessibility
There is a combination of road and water transportation in the Municipality. Road Network has 74.8km of first class, 30.05km second class and 46.50km of third class road water Transportation though important is poorly developed. None motorised local canoes are used to transport goods and people across the lagoons.
 Road Network
The Keta  road system can be classified into three types, as depicted.    TABLE 1 : ROAD CATEGORIES AND DENSITY


Road Type

Length (km)

( Municipality)

Road Density *

Road Density (Volta)

First Class




Second Class




Third Class








 Source: DFR, Keta 2006.

The First class road (74.8km) traverses the coast from Havedzi through Keta-Anloga-Dabala to join the main Accra-Aflao road.  The northern section of the Municipality  between Abor and Anyako is also accessible by first class road.  The Keta-Aflao stretch of road which was completely destroyed by sea erosion between Keta and Horvi has now been constructed under the Keta Sea Defence Project by the Central Government.

Settlements in the north of the Municipality (Abor-Atiavi-Hatorgodo axis) are linked mostly by second class roads and are complemented by feeder roads.  The middle and south western sections of the Municipality(Angaw and Klomi lagoon basin) are poorly accessible mainly by third class roads and footpaths. Generally, the Municiplaity is relatively more accessible as indicated by a relatively highroad density of 194.7 meters/km2.   This level is about three times better than the Regional and national densities of 67.6 meters/km2 and 57.3 meters/km2 respectively. 

Generally, the surface conditions of roads in the district are good.  However, occasional flooding particularly in the mid-west section of the district renders the area inaccessible.  Another problem relates to the unintegrated nature of the road network largely due to the numerous creeks and lagoons separating the more developed south from the north. People travelling from Keta to other parts of the district like Tregui and Shime Areas have to detour through South Tongu Districts as the short-cut link road becomes unmotorable during the rainy seasons. 

Water Transport and Links   
Lagoon transport, though important is poorly developed.  Non-motorized local canoes are used to transport goods and people across the lagoons.  Another setback is the seasonal fluctuations in the water level, which render movement very slow and even cumbersome.  The siltation of the lagoon has also generally reduced the water level.

The major routesareAnyako/Seva-Anloga, Afiadenyigba-Keta-Anloga,Atiavi-Keta-Anloga,andAlakple/Kodzi/Fiahor-Keta-Anloga.  Table 2. Shows that utilization of water transport is low compared to land transport, especially the use of motor vehicles. 
There is however, a significant increase of the use of water transport compared to the finding of the 1996 SPRING study. The seasonal drying up of the lagoon makes water transport unreliable and time consuming as opposed to road transport (over 90 per cent of the population use road transport regularly).  Table 2:TRANSPORT MODE







Motor Vehicle




















Motor Bike










     Sources: SPRING Socio-Economic Survey 1995/96

Transport Services

Transport services in the Municipality cover the road network and the water system.  In the case of water transport the services are privately owned, while the road transport is also operated privately without state transport complementing the service in the Municipality.  The modes of transport are used for passenger and cargo services, with the passenger buses and mini-buses with a seating capacity of between 16-40.  Trucking services are used to carry mainly tomatoes, shallots, salt and fish to outside the Municipality while manufactured goods and foodstuffs like rice, yams, maize and building materials are imported.

 Develpment  Implications  
The naturally dry conditions, poor soils and severe constrain on access to land limits the potential for extensive cropping in the Municipality  There seems to be options to intensive cultivation, fishing and water transport potentials exist which must be tapped.  An improvement in the transport network will facilitate trade and marketing activities within the Keta-Anloga conurbation, especially with the reconstruction of the Keta-Kedzi road. 

The potential for fish farming also needs to be tapped. The present low integration between the settlements of the north and those along the coast could be improved by promoting the water transport system.  Improvement in the movement of the population would enhance technology diffusion and the provision of extension services.

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