Somerset Dam was constructed by the Bureau of Industry Stanley River Works Board. Construction commenced in 1935 but had to be suspended due to World War II. Work resumed in 1948 and the dam was completed in 1959.
The dam was built for the dual purposes of water supply for the region and for flood mitigation.
Water from Somerset Dam is released into Wivenhoe Dam, which in turn supplements the natural flow of the Brisbane River and maintains an adequate supply of water to the Mt Crosby pumping station located 132 kilometres downstream.
Somerset is a gated dam, allowing us to make controlled water releases during times of heavy rain. It has an additional flood storage capacity of 524,000 megalitres. If you would like to be notified when about releases from Somerset Dam, please sign up to our free dam release notification service.
Read our fact sheet, How dams work, for more information.
Dam improvement program
Seqwater has upgraded a number of dams across the region as part of the Dam Improvement Program. Somerset Dam is one of the five dams across the region identified for future improvement works.
While Seqwater is undertaking work to determine scope, design and timing of the upgrade, the drinking water storages of both Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams will be temporarily lowered and a new flood operations strategy adopted for Somerset Dam.
Find out more about the Somerset Dam Improvement Project.
Dam optimisation studies
The Department of Energy and Water Supply has announced the new flood mitigation strategies for the operation of Wivenhoe, Somerset and North Pine dams, as a result of the optimisation studies and public consultation.
In April 2014, the department released the Wivenhoe and Somerset Dam Optimisation Study and the North Pine Dam Optimisation Study for public discussions. The studies were completed in response to the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry to investigate potential alternative operations of the existing dams during floods.
More information on the Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams Optimisation Study or the North Pine Dam Optimisation Study is available on the Department of Energy and Water Supply website. View our updated manuals of operational procedures for flood mitigation for Wivenhoe Dam and Somerset Dam, and North Pine Dam.
Lake Somerset is a very popular recreation destination, with a wide variety of activities and facilities available. There are three main recreation areas: The Spit, Kirkleagh and Somerset Park Day Use Area.
Boating permits are required for Lake Somerset. A SIPS permit is required for fishing at Lake Somerset. Visit the Fisheries website for information and to purchase your permit.
Download the our Lake Somerset recreation map [4MB] to take with you or pick one up from the Wivenhoe Information Centre, Fernvale Futures Centre, Esk Visitor Information Centre or Kilcoy Information Centre. Our Lake Somerset Recreation Guide also has detailed information about activities, as well as maps and important safety information.
Due to the safety risks posed by submerged hazards, a 6 knot speed limit in the northern part of Lake Somerset has been endorsed by Marine Safety Queensland (MSQ). Signage will be erected at all launch points advising of the 6 knot speed limit area. Seqwater staff will continue to actively patrol the lake, and will monitor speeding this northern area. Details of the boundaries of the zone can be viewed here.
Please note that shoreline fishing and boating are permitted at the appropriate sections of the designated recreation areas. Other areas of the shoreline may be private land or may be subject to re-vegetation projects, and access to that land is not permitted for shoreline fishing nor for launching, retrieving or beaching vessels.