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Community members get a rare tour inside the historic Somerset Dam wall

Somerset Dam upgrade

Somerset Dam is one of several dams identified for upgrade as part of Seqwater’s Dam Improvement Program.  The dam plays an important role in the SEQ Water Grid and its continued performance and safety is critical to South East Queenslanders.

The aim of the upgrade is to improve the dam’s ability to withstand extreme floods and earthquakes. A detailed business case is being prepared and will then be submitted for government approvals. Construction of the dam upgrade is expected to take four to five years.

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Home What We're Doing Somerset Dam upgrade

At Seqwater, some of the dams we operate were built decades ago and, just like cars, they need regular maintenance to keep them in good working order and meet changing safety standards and guidelines.

In 2012-13, Seqwater commissioned an independent review, which found improvements are needed at many of our 26 regulated dams to meet Queensland’s dam safety guidelines and bring them in line with the latest engineering standards.

Temporary full supply level

In 2016, the flood operation procedures for Somerset Dam were modified as a precautionary safety measure and drinking water levels of both Somerset and Wivenhoe dams were temporarily lowered to maintain flood mitigation benefits provided by both dams. Somerset was lowered to 80 per cent of its normal drinking water storage and Wivenhoe to 90 per cent.

The full supply levels in both dams will remain lowered until Somerset Dam is upgraded.


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    Somerset Dam Upgrade - Technical Surveys - Notification

    The Somerset Dam Upgrade project involves improving the current design to meet the Queensland Dam Safety Guidelines. Over the coming months Seqwater will have technical teams doing surveys for the upgrade project. For more information, please read the works notification here.

    Upgrades to the dam viewing area on Esk-Kilcoy Road are one of the potential legacy projects shortlisted as part of Somerset Dam upgrade

    Legacy projects shortlisted as part of Somerset Dam upgrade

    New recreation trails, development of a new rural fire service shed and upgrades to the day use area in Somerset Dam Village are some of the shortlisted legacy projects being considered as part of the Somerset Dam upgrade.

    New recreation trails, development of a new rural fire service shed and upgrades to the day use area in Somerset Dam Village are some of the shortlisted legacy projects being considered as part of the Somerset Dam upgrade.

    Somerset Dam, which was built between 1935 and 1959, is one of several dams to be upgraded as part of Seqwater’s Dam Improvement Program to bring the dam up to modern safety standards.

    For the past few months, a community reference group (CRG) – consisting of representatives from local community groups, businesses and organisations – has been working with Seqwater to develop a Social Impact Management Plan, including various legacy projects.

    The legacy projects are designed to bring long-term benefits that will meet the needs and priorities of the community as well as mitigate any project impacts.

    A shortlist of 12 legacy projects has now been finalised for consideration, with one or more to be included in the detailed businesses case for the Somerset Dam upgrade project. The business case is expected to be completed next year ahead of scheduled construction in 2022.

    Seqwater Major Projects General Manager Barbara van Heerden said the CRG had considered more than 40 project ideas put forward by members of the community.

    “From the projects that have been shortlisted, there’s a clear focus on community safety, celebrating local heritage and improving recreation facilities,” Ms van Heerden said.

    “There are some excellent proposals which will indeed provide long-lasting economic, recreational and tourism benefits to the community.”

    Somerset Dam Upgrade Project Manager Silvia Oliveira said the CRG members had volunteered their time, given up their weekends and made a considerable commitment in working with Seqwater to protect and enhance the community they live in.

    “CRG members have been working for months to identify the impacts of this dam upgrade on the community and help us come up with solutions,” Ms Oliveira said.

    “Even when COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, the group was keen to stay on track so worked with Seqwater to hold CRG meetings virtually.

    “The CRG members include community leaders with a proven history of working for the Somerset Region and include representatives from the Somerset Dam and Districts Progress Association, Kilcoy Chamber of Commerce and the Rural Fire Brigade – even a former local mayor.”

    Shortlisted legacy project ideas:

    • Upgrades to the dam viewing area on Esk-Kilcoy Road
    • Construction of a new Rural Fire Service shed in Somerset Dam village
    • New pedestrian paths in Somerset Dam village, including a safe crossing of Esk-Kilcoy Road
    • Development of a new recreation trail between Somerset Dam village and The Spit
    • Establishment of a public display of heritage-related objects from the dam wall such as old gates and winches
    • Restoration of the old swimming hole near the village, with addition of a kayak launch point on the Stanley River
    • Upgrades to the day use area (playground) in Somerset Dam village, including new public toilets
    • Upgrades to facilities at The Spit
    • Relocation of the memorial to workers who died during construction of the dam
    • Development of a community arts and heritage centre in Somerset Dam village using one of Seqwater’s old houses
    • Redevelopment of the Caboonbah Homestead site and  a new boat ramp
    • Establishment of a connection from the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail to Somerset Dam using the old bullock trail stock rout

    ​For more information or to provide your feedback about the proposed legacy projects contact Seqwater at [email protected]

    With social distancing measures still in place, community meetings to discuss the Somerset Dam Upgrade Project and develop a Social Impact Management Plan are now being held virtually

    Join our online Q&A sessions

    Want to know more about the Somerset Dam upgrade? We're hosting two online community meetings to discuss the project and answer your questions.

    Session details are below. When you're ready to join, click on the Join button.



    * We recommend using either Chrome or Microsoft Edge to access these sessions. Internet Explorer is not recommended.

    * To access via the Zoom app use meeting ID: 928 4868 4859 and password: zKH8WOmp (letter O, not number 0).



    Somerset Dam wall from upstream

    Roads and traffic workshop

    The Somerset Dam Upgrade CRG met online on 30 May 2020 to discuss the impacts of the project on local roads and traffic.

    Road safety

    CRG members were concerned the additional vehicles on Esk-Kilcoy Rd during construction may result in an increase in accidents, particularly at existing problem points like the intersection with Wivenhoe-Somerset Rd. Increased traffic would make it more dangerous for pedestrians to cross the road. CRG members noted the nearest police, fire and ambulance stations are all around 25km away and the local Rural Fire Brigade would likely be the first responders to any accidents near the village.

    Increased traffic may also accelerate normal deterioration of road surfaces causing potholes and other road damage. This could also lead to more accidents and increased wear and tear on private vehicles. CRG members also expressed concern about increased numbers of native animals being killed on local roads.


    The increased traffic on local roads during construction may cause congestion, resulting in longer travel times for locals. CRG members identified school bus services, emergency services and community support outreach services as being particularly affected. CRG members also felt there was not a lot that could be done to mitigate congestion on local roads and residents will need to adjust to increased travel times during construction.

    Village impacts

    CRG members agreed the increased traffic on Esk-Kilcoy Rd would change the peaceful and quiet nature of Somerset Dam village. They were concerned it may be more difficult for local traffic to safely turn from side streets onto Esk-Kilcoy Rd. Residents living close to the main road may be impacted by increased noise, dust and vibration damage to their homes. They were also concerned about pedestrian and cyclist safety in the village, the appeal of the area to visitors and holiday makers and possible economic impacts on the village.

    The proposed widening of Esk-Kilcoy Rd through the village would also add construction impacts and result in a change to the ‘look’ of the village. CRG members felt these impacts were balanced by the long term benefits of road safety, particularly improvements to blind corners and access to the dam viewing area.

    Proposed measures to reduce or mitigate impacts:

    • Install project signage prior to start of construction to help prepare road users for upcoming impacts
    • Reduce the speed limit through the village
    • Schedule truck movements to minimise impacts at peak traffic periods
    • Install temporary signage at the approach to narrow bends warning of trucks
    • Install temporary traffic lights on Esk-Kilcoy Rd at King St and Gipps St to allow local traffic to safely access the road
    • Temporarily close access from Albert St to Esk-Kilcoy Rd to push vehicles to temporary traffic lights
    • Have school bus service to Toogoolawah schools pick up students from the Dam Shed
    • Widen Esk-Kilcoy Rd through the village, particularly near Coronation Hall
    • Investigate improvements to access to dam viewing area and approaching corners
    • Install a footpath and a safe crossing point for pedestrians in the village (such as pedestrian traffic lights)
    • Increased frequency of road inspections and road maintenance
    • Increased communication with residents and visitors to prepare for impacts
    • Keep the community informed during the construction period with regular updates, a column in the local paper, community meetings, etc.

    Do you have any other feedback or ideas? Share them with the CRG by emailing  [email protected] 

    Contractor safety

    Economic and employment workshop

    Members of the Somerset Dam Upgrade Community Reference Group (CRG) met in the new online format on 2 May to discuss economic impacts and opportunities for the Somerset Region.

    Opportunities for local businesses and local employment

    The project will create a significant number of jobs during the construction period, which will last approximately 4 years. There will also be opportunities for local small and medium sized businesses to tender for sub-contracts or benefit from increased spending in the region, with the potential to create even more jobs. Youth unemployment in surrounding towns is high, and there are many people in the Somerset Region who could benefit from new job or business opportunities. 

    Rental availability and affordability

    We anticipate many of the workers employed on the construction project will already live in the Somerset Region, while other workers will come from outside the region. Some of those workers may be accommodated in a construction workers camp. Others may choose to move to the region for the duration of the project, possibly with their families. 

    CRG members expressed concern that demand from construction workers moving into the area could drive up rental prices and push locals out of the market. They were also concerned about impacts on community services such as health and education and the need to supply facilities and entertainment for construction workers. 

    Construction workers camp

    The construction contractor may choose to establish a worker’s camp to provide accommodation for construction workers. Workers camps are typically single person accommodation only. Seqwater has found suitable locations for a worker’s camp at the Somerset Dam campgrounds, the old Caboonbah Homestead site, or in either Esk or Toogoolawah. CRG members considered the benefits and issues of each site and the potential impact of a worker’s camp in each community.

    Mitigation and enhancement measures

    CRG members proposed the following measures to reduce impacts and enhance benefits:

    • Set targets for employment and procurement from the Somerset Region during the construction period.  Read Somerset Dam upgrade fact sheet.
    • Seqwater and Somerset Regional Council to jointly host an Industry Briefing for small and medium sized businesses in the Somerset Region to raise awareness of upcoming opportunities.
    • Establish a register for local businesses to express interest in work associated with the project, and notify registered businesses when opportunities to tender become available.
    • Offer a number of traineeships, school-based traineeships and/or apprenticeships for Somerset Region residents on the project.
    • Conduct a survey of temporary accommodation options in the region, such as caravan parks, conversion of holiday homes into rental properties, or temporary use of farm workers cottages. 
    • Liaise with Somerset Regional Council to temporarily ease restrictions on use of farm workers cottages for accommodation.
    • Share information about alternative rental accommodation options with construction workers.
    • Contractor to enforce a Behaviour Agreement with construction workers living in the community.
    • Workers camp to supply off street parking for workers.
    • Bus transport between workers camp and construction site.
    • Workers camp should supply access to entertainment facilities such as internet, TV and gym equipment.
    • CRG members felt, on balance, the old Caboonbah Homestead site was the best option for a worker’s camp.

    Do you have any other feedback or ideas? Share them with the CRG by emailing [email protected]

    With social distancing measures still in place, community meetings to discuss the Somerset Dam Upgrade Project and develop a Social Impact Management Plan are now being held virtually

    Somerset Dam workshops take on a new look during COVID-19 pandemic

    With social distancing measures still in place, community meetings to discuss the Somerset Dam Upgrade Project and develop a Social Impact Management Plan are now being held virtually.

    With social distancing measures still in place, community meetings to discuss the Somerset Dam Upgrade Project and develop a Social Impact Management Plan are now being held virtually.

    Members of the Somerset Dam Upgrade Community Reference Group (CRG) are now meeting online to discuss and share views on the anticipated impacts of the project. 

    The group, made up of volunteers representing different stakeholder groups across the Somerset Region, has been meeting for half-day weekend workshops since February. 

    Their first online workshop, held on 2 May, focused on the economic and employment opportunities for the Somerset Region and identified practical actions to maximise local benefits.

    Project Director Ed Ebert said despite COVID-19 restrictions, the group was keen to keep on track and worked with Seqwater to hold the May workshop online.
    “COVID-19 mitigation protocols have presented numerous changes and challenges,” Mr Ebert said. 

    “These meetings are important because they are all about identifying and managing impacts associated with the upgrade project as well as opportunities for maximising community benefits from the project.

    “The group was enthusiastic and accommodating in transitioning to an online format, which speaks to the dedication of all involved.”
    “We are very grateful for their flexibility and adaptability in the circumstances.”

    Mr Ebert said anyone interested in the outcomes of these sessions, could visit the Seqwater website to see what has been discussed and provide their feedback.

    Somerset Dam is one of several dams to be upgraded as part of Seqwater’s Dam Improvement Program, with construction expected to begin in 2022.

    The CRG members include community leaders with a proven history of working for the Somerset Region and include representatives from the Somerset Dam and Districts Progress Association, Kilcoy Chamber of Commerce and the Rural Fire Brigade – even a former local mayor.

    For more information visit: seqwater.com.au/what-were-doing

    Somerset Dam
    Somerset Dam community tour

    Noise, dust and health workshop

    The Somerset Dam Upgrade CRG met on 14 March 2020 to discuss possible construction impacts including noise, dust and vibrations and how those might affect the health of residents in Somerset Dam village. They also considered the implications of improving dam safety for the Somerset Region.

    Construction impacts

    Construction impacts on the community may include reduced water quality in tanks, dust entering houses, impacts on family lifestyles and possible damage to homes. The group also discussed flow on impacts such as reduced tourism appeal and reduced water quality in the Stanley River downstream of the construction site.

    Health impacts

    Residents of Somerset Dam village with pre-existing health conditions and those who are at home during the day will be the most at risk during construction. The group were also concerned about the mental health impacts of construction continuing for up to 4 years. The village area does not have good access to health services, and construction activity may increase demand.

    Dam safety impacts

    The purpose of the Somerset Dam Upgrade is to improve the dams ability to withstand extreme floods and reduce the risk of a catastrophic failure. The group discussed the impacts such a failure might have on the Somerset Region. These included loss of life in areas downstream of the dam wall, including Somerset Dam village; loss of water supply to Kilcoy; loss of water supply for farms and irrigation; loss of recreation opportunities and associated tourism; loss of jobs and businesses; and environmental and ecological damage.

    Proposed measures to reduce or mitigate impacts:

    • Locate the concrete batching plant away from the village and residences.
    • Investigate options for a haul route on the eastern side of the Stanley River to access the construction site.
    • Limit construction hours, including no trucks or noisy/dusty works on weekends.
    • Consider relocating high risk residents during construction period.
    • Provide regular updates to the community, including the results of dust and noise monitoring. Advise of any upcoming activity with significant impacts.
    • Hold regular meetings with residents to provide an opportunity for feedback and questions. Keep the community informed before and during the construction period.
    • Provide advice to residents before the start of construction on how to minimise impacts, such as sealing windows.
    • Follow construction industry best practice methods for addressing noise and dust impacts, including dust filters, waterway barriers, noise barriers and use of water trucks.
    • Employ a Town Maintenance Team to regularly inspect roads in village and keep clear.
    • Partner with allied health organisations to provide medical services in the village during construction.
    • Provide social supports during construction including informal gatherings and counselling services.
    • Incentivise the use of health services to encourage residents to have regular checks.
    • Provide a weekly bus service to take village residents out for day trips, shopping, etc.
    • Provide more dam tour opportunities to share information about the project with residents.

    Do you have any other feedback or ideas? Share them with the CRG by emailing [email protected] 

    COVID-19 response

    Seqwater has response plans and we are continuing to update them according to the most current available information. We have cancelled or postponed Seqwater public events, including our community education program, to protect our staff and the communities we serve.

    The Community Reference Group will continue to meet via online tools over the coming months. This will allow us to complete the draft Social Impact Management Plan while complying with the recommendations of government and health experts.

    Queensland State Archives (4604) photo of Somerset Dam August in 1947 of Rigging No 1 Tail tower

    Recreation and heritage workshop

    Members of the Somerset Dam Upgrade Community Reference Group (CRG) met on 22 February to discuss how the project might impact on recreation and heritage. They also considered what measures could be put in place to reduce impacts.

    Recreation impacts

    While the project will not affect access to recreation, construction work may impact the appeal of the area to recreation users. CRG members discussed the flow on impacts of a possible reduction in visitors from outside the area on local business, particularly in the tourism and recreation areas.

    Cultural Heritage impacts

    The group discussed the role of Somerset Dam in the history of the Somerset Region and for Somerset Dam village in particular. The project will significantly change the appearance of the dam wall. Machinery, including spillway gates and winches, which were built in the 1930’s and 1940’s will be removed from the wall.

    Proposed measures to reduce or mitigate impacts:

    • Promote recreation at Lake Somerset during construction period
    • Construction updates should emphasise work is on the Somerset Dam wall only
    • Install signage on main road approaches from both the north and south to advise recreation at Lake Somerset is still open
    • Establish safe areas to view construction activity
    • Limit construction activity on weekends, particularly truck movements
    • Provide frequent updates to the community during construction
    • Relocate heritage items removed from the dam wall, such as gates and winches, to local parks or other areas where they can be displayed
    • Engage a local bus company to transport construction workers from nearby towns to the dam wall during construction period
    • Legacy project idea: Create a heritage trail from the campground in Somerset Dam village to the old flying fox tower above the dam wall
    • Display heritage items along the trail. Install signage describing the items and other local heritage stories, including from the traditional owners.

    Do you have any other feedback or ideas? Share them with the CRG by emailing [email protected]

    Somerset Dam Upgrade's Community Reference Grouop meeting

    Community Reference Group tackling social impacts

    The Community Reference Group (CRG) for the Somerset Dam Upgrade got together for their first meeting on Saturday 8 February. The first meeting focussed on understanding the project and the role of the CRG in designing a Social Impact Management Plan for the project.

    The 12 CRG members come from across the Somerset Region and represent both community and business interests. It includes tourism operators, members of the Rural Fire Service, residents living near the dam site, local businesses and Somerset Regional Council. They will work together over the coming months to come up with a plan to manage impacts and maximise community benefits.

    Somerset Community Reference Group - get involved

    Have your say – Community Reference Group

    Seqwater is establishing a Community Reference Group (CRG) for the Somerset Dam Upgrade. This group will work collaboratively with Seqwater to develop and implement a Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) for the project.

    The group will help identify potential impacts of the upgrade and ways to mitigate them as well as opportunities to maximise community benefits from the project.

    Members of the CRG are expected to participate in at least six workshops in 2020 to create a draft SIMP. The outcomes of the workshops will be shared on this website so the rest of the community can have their say too.

    Get involved

    The CRG will include representation from many different stakeholder groups, so that we can better understand and consider different interests and concerns. We’re looking for people who can represent:

    • Residents living near the construction site (Somerset Dam village), upstream of the dam wall (Kilcoy, Hazeldean, etc) and downstream of the dam wall (Esk, Fernvale, etc)
    • Property owners or lessees adjacent to Lake Somerset or the Stanley River between Somerset Dam and Wivenhoe Dam
    • Businesses, including local businesses, tourism operators and employment or training services
    • Community interests including recreation, environment, heritage, health and community services.

    To register your interest in being part of the CRG, download and complete the application form below and return it to Seqwater by 5pm on Thursday, 2 January 2020

    Successful applicants will be notified before the first workshop in February 2020.

    Applications can be emailed to [email protected] or posted to PO Box 328, Ipswich QLD 4305. Preference will be given to individual applicants who can demonstrate strong connections to other members of their stakeholder groups – for example, membership of community organisations.

    What to expect

    The CRG will:

    • Assist with developing a Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP) that represents both community and Seqwater needs, addresses project impacts, and maximises opportunities and benefits.
    • Actively involve the community and key stakeholders in planning and decision making to ensure project delivery meets community expectations.
    • Raise awareness and understanding of the project in the community.
    • Improve Seqwaters understanding of community impacts and concerns related to the project, and the projects response to them.

    The CRG will meet for half day weekend workshops starting in February 2020. The CRG will continue to meet during construction to provide feedback on the effectiveness of mitigation measures. The CRG will help Seqwater improve the management of social impacts associated with the project.

    Community members get a rare tour inside the historic Somerset Dam wall

    Somerset Dam enthusiasts take rare tour inside the wall

    Few people have seen the inside of historic Somerset Dam wall in the past 60 years.

    But as plans to upgrade Somerset Dam take shape, community members have received a rare peek inside the bowels of the major dam.

    The invitation was offered by Seqwater, as a way to engage and educate the public about the dam ahead of its scheduled upgrade from 2021-2022.

    Across two days, more than 450 people walked across the crest of the dam, with some lucky people also going into the concrete tunnels within the dam wall.

    Seqwater Chief Executive Officer Neil Brennan said the tour had given visitors unique insight into South East Queensland’s water history and a better understanding of the planned upgrade work.

    “South East Queensland’s water supply has been a fascinating and often dramatic story as engineers and planners worked to adapt to a rapidly growing population over the decades,” Mr Brennan said.

    “Somerset Dam is one the region’s key water storages. It was built between 1937 and 1959, with work suspended for a number of years due to World War 2.

    “By taking part in the tour, residents were able to view the machinery used to operate the dam as well as the valves and steel gates that are used to release water – even graffiti inside the dam walls from operators dating back to the 1950s.”

    Among the visitors were descendants, Henry Plantagenet Somerset, the pioneer pastoralist and politician whom the dam is named after.

    The youngest of Henry Somerset’s grandchildren, Charles Somerset, 75, said the last time he walked on the dam wall was during its official opening, all those decades ago.

    The retired grazier, who drove from Toowoomba with his wife Pamela and sister Sue to attend the event, said the tour had become a reunion of sorts for the Somerset family.

    “We arranged to meet at the dam with my cousins, Arthur – the eldest of Henry Somerset’s grandchildren – and Bill who are also bringing members of their families along.

    “It’s been ages since we’ve seen each other. It’s great to be able to meet up at a site that we all have a strong connection to.

    “Grandfather died before I was born but my father would tell us a lot of stories about him, his life as a pioneer pastoralist and politician and how he was the first to suggest the site of the dam.”

    Both the Somerset Dam and the Somerset Region are named in Henry Somerset’s honour.

    Somerset tour

    Save the date! Somerset Dam Tour

    Save the date! We are holding free tours of Somerset Dam on 24 and 25 August 2019. You can take a tour of the dam wall and find out about the planned upgrade to Somerset Dam. This will be your opportunity to experience Somerset Dam from a different side – maybe even go through the tunnels in the dam wall.

    Want to be the first to know when free dam tour tickets are available? Sign up for Somerset Dam upgrade email updates  (select Somerset Dam Improvement in the subject) to receive the registration link in early August.

    You can also visit the historic village of Somerset Dam and support the community by buying some great local food.

  • Why does Somerset Dam need to be upgraded?

    Somerset Dam is one of several dams to be upgraded as part of Seqwaters Dam Improvement Program. Like all major infrastructure, dams are regularly assessed and upgraded to comply with improvements to engineering standards and guidelines. Seqwater is required to comply with the Queensland Dam Safety Guidelines under the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2010.

    Somerset Dam was built between 1935 and 1959. Since then, there have been significant changes including:

    • population growth downstream 
    • advances in dam design 
    • improved estimation of extreme rainfall and flood events 
    • improved understanding of earthquake probabilities and loads.

    We now know more about risks to the safety of Somerset Dam during an extreme flood event or earthquake. While these extreme events are very unlikely, the consequences of a failure at Somerset Dam would be catastrophic.

    What does ‘dam failure’ mean?

    ‘Dam failure’ refers to part or all of a dam wall being significantly damaged or destroyed, often associated with uncontrolled releases of large volumes of water. This can result in large scale flooding, infrastructure damage, loss of life downstream of the dam wall, and significant economic impacts. 

    Australia has a very good dam safety record and failures of large dams are extremely rare in this country. 

    Will the upgrade work impact recreation at Lake Somerset?

    The construction site for the dam upgrade will be at the Somerset Dam wall. We do not expect any changes to recreation activities on the lake or at The Spit or other recreation areas. There will be increased traffic on the road during construction which may impact recreation users travelling to Lake Somerset.

    The current temporary full supply water level of Somerset Dam will be maintained at 97m AHD, 2m lower than the normal full supply level, during the upgrade work. We plan to reinstate the normal full supply level when the upgrade is completed.

    Will the upgrade to Somerset Dam impact recreation at Wivenhoe Dam?

    Construction of the Somerset Dam Upgrade is not expected to impact recreation at Lake Wivenhoe.

    What will the upgrade look like?

    A final design for the Somerset Dam Upgrade has not been chosen. We are considering both a gated design and an ungated design, as well as an alternative option where gates could be added in the future at government discretion. We are working to identify which upgrade design represents the best investment for the people of Queensland.

    The common design elements are:

    • Raising the height of the dam wall
    • Changes to the spillway, including removing the gates or replacing the existing gates with larger gates
    • Extending and reinforcing the dissipator basin
    • Adding concrete to the downstream face of the dam wall.
    When will the upgrade happen?

    Seqwater is completing a Detailed Business Case for the Somerset Dam Upgrade. Pending a government decision on funding, construction is expected to take four to five years to complete

    Will the water level in Lake Somerset return to its old levels after the upgrade?

    In 2016 the full supply levels of both Somerset and Wivenhoe Dams were temporarily lowered to increase flood mitigation and reduce risks to dam safety. The full supply level in both dams will remain lowered until the Somerset Dam Upgrade is complete.

    How will you manage the construction impacts on residents and businesses?

    A Social Impact Management Plan will be adopted to reduce and manage the impact on the Somerset community. This plan is being drafted in partnership with a Community Reference Group. You can see updates from the Community Reference Group workshops and provide information or suggestions through the project website.

    Will the dam upgrade project include improvements to the local area for long term benefit (legacy projects)?

    Seqwater is committed to addressing the impacts of the Somerset Dam Upgrade on the community. As part of the current Detailed Business Case process a Community Reference Group was formed to partner with Seqwater in developing a Social Impact Management Plan. This plan will include legacy projects with long-term benefits that meet the needs and priorities of the local community as well as mitigating potential short-term project impacts.

    For more information about proposed legacy projects see https://www.seqwater.com.au/news/legacy-projects-shortlisted-part-somerset-dam-upgrade

    How can community members have a say in managing impacts and enhancing benefits from the project?

    This project will impact the community and Seqwater is planning now for how those impacts will be managed. Your feedback, ideas and suggestions are an important part of that planning. You can have your say by:

    • Emailing the project team at [email protected]
    • Attending an online or in person event. Details will be published on the project webpage and through Seqwaters social media channels.
    • Sign up for project newsletters from the project webpage to be notified of upcoming opportunities to have your say.

    When the draft Social Impact Management Plan has been completed we will share it with the community and seek your feedback on potential impacts and benefits from the project. 

    What roads will trucks use during construction?

    The project team is assessing options for truck haul routes to bring construction materials to the dam wall. Key concerns to be assessed are safety, potential community and environmental impacts and the capacity of the road to sustain large volumes of heavy trucks. We will be able to confirm preferred haul routes once a contractor is appointed and will provide more information to the community then.

    Will the upgrade to Somerset Dam impact traffic on the Brisbane Valley Highway over Wivenhoe Dam?

    Construction of the Somerset Dam Upgrade is not expected to significantly impact traffic on the Brisbane Valley Highway.

    Will there be a workers camp for construction workers?

    This will be a decision for the contractor appointed to build the dam upgrade. There may be up to 150 people working on the construction site and the contractor may choose to provide a worker’s camp to accommodate them. We have consulted the Community Reference Group for the project and identified suitable sites to build a temporary worker’s camp at Esk, Toogoolawah, Caboonbah and Somerset Dam, should that be the case.

    Will construction work be 7 days a week?

    We have not finalised construction planning at this stage, however construction work is unlikely to be 7 days a week. More planning and investigations about how construction will be managed will form part of the current Detailed Business Case. Our intention is to plan construction activities to minimise any construction impacts on weekends, particularly by avoiding truck movements and noisy work where possible. Some short term weekend or night work may be necessary for specific activities and community members will be notified in writing before out of hours work.

    Will the project provide opportunities for local jobs or for local businesses?

    Seqwater supports local employment and local procurement on all its capital works projects. We strongly encourage small and medium sized businesses in the Somerset Region to tender for work packages and sub-contracts associated with the construction phase of this project.

    We are currently identifying ways to maximise local opportunities during the construction period. These may include local apprenticeships and traineeships, a local procurement register and targets for local employment and procurement.

    How can my business tender for work on the upgrade?

    The contract for construction of the Somerset Dam Upgrade will be listed on the QTender website. 

    Seqwater supports local procurement on all its capital works projects. We strongly encourage small and medium sized businesses in the Somerset Region to tender for work packages and sub-contracts associated with this project.

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