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.
Somerset Dam Tours
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.
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.
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 not 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 Guide [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.
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.