Göta älv

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The Göta älv is a river that drains lake Vänern into Kattegat at the city of Gothenburg on the western coast of Sweden. It is located in Götaland, with the river itself being a site of early Geatish settlement. The length is 93 km. Often the combination of Göta älv and Klarälven (a river ending at Vänern) is mentioned. This combination is the longest river in the Nordic countries, 750 km[citation needed]. The Bohus Fortress is located by the river at Kungälv. Here the river splits into two, with the northern part being the Nordre älv and the southern part keeping the name Göta älv.

At Trollhättan there is a dam, canal locks and a hydropower station in the river. The locks make the river navigable, even for large cargo vessels (88 m long). The artificial parts are called Trollhätte Canal. The river and the canal is part of a mostly inland waterway, Göta Canal, all the way to Stockholm.

The power station supplied electric power to the heavy steel industry concentrated around Trollhättan Falls, contributing to its industrial revolution. In the summer months the spillway of the dam is opened for a few minutes daily and tourists gather to see the water rushing down the river (picture).

There are worries if the maximum discharge of 1000 m³/s is enough if heavy rain floods the lake Vänern which would cause big damage. Previously this was thought not to be possible in reality, but in year 2001 the lake was flooded almost a meter above maximum level (and some upstream lakes like Glafsfjorden 3 metres). In this situation, Göta älv was allowed a discharge of 1100 m³/s for months causing big risk of landslides. Now a water tunnel between Vänersborg and Uddevalla is considered as a rescue solution.

There is a large risk of landslides along the river and historical notes of 15 landslides exist. The largest occurred in the years 1150, 1648, 1950 and 1957.

See also


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