The rising demand for electric power, potable water, irrigation, fisheries products and ecotourism are
linked to urbanization and industrialization, which has led to the construction of dams and storage reservoirs in sub-Saharan Africa. Thus, there is a proliferation of small dams, which have essentially altered the ecology and functional webs of rivers and lakes, creating lotic and lentic environments. The changed flood regime has elicited faunal and flora dynamics that exert influence over a broader expanse of the drainage basins.
Impoundment of streams and rivers has led to formation of many artificial water bodies in sub-Saharan Africa, ranging from small dams used for irrigated agriculture, flood control, small scale power generation, drinking water supply to large reservoirs which ecologically integrate functions of rivers and lakes.
Many combine characteristics of lotic and lentic environments, thus diverse biotopes are intertwined and vary seasonally with respect to flood dynamics. For example, Lake Volta was initially characterized by depletion of oxygen. Despite the oligotrophic nature, plankton populations developed well while algal blooms were frequent and aquatic macrophytes were persistent. Likewise aquatic organisms are adapted with respect to ecological functional heterogeneity of habitats, both spatially and temporally.
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