Wall of Somerset Dam
|Primary inflows||Stanley River|
|Primary outflows||Stanley River|
|Catchment area||1503 km2|
|Max. length||52 km|
|Max. width||7 km|
|Surface area||4210 ha|
|Water volume||380 000 ML|
|Surface elevation||108 m|
Lake Somerset is an artificial lake created by the Somerset Dam on the Stanley River in South East Queensland. The dam was completed in 1953 providing flood mitigation and water storage for the cities of Brisbane and Ipswich and is the site of a small 4 MW hydroelectric power station.
At full capacity the lake holds 904,000 megalitres. Under normal conditions 380,000 megalitres is reserved for water supply, but the dam can hold another 524,000 megalitres to temporarily store flood waters. The mass concrete gravity type dam wall is 305 metres long and contains 203,000 cubic metres of concrete.
The dam is managed by SEQ Water. A level of 90% is the optimum capacity for keeping evaporation rates to a minimum. Dam operators discharge water into the Wivenhoe Dam downstream to hold Somerset at this level when inflows are occurring.
The site was first suggested for the location of a dam by Henry Somerset, the owner of Caboonbah Homestead, after the 1893 Brisbane floods caused severe damage to Brisbane River valley residents downstream. A commission of enquiry recommended Stanley Gorge as the site for a dam in 1928, but it was not until 1933 that the Forgan Smith Labor Government adopted the reservoir's construction as a major job creation project to counter job losses caused by the Great Depression.
Construction began in 1935. Worker's cottages had to be built and other facilities were constructed to attract 1,000 construction workers and their families to the area. By 1942 the dam was almost complete when workers were diverted to the war effort. Work on the dam recommenced in 1948. Opened in 1953 when structural work was finished, it was not until 1958 that the dam was officially named after Henry Somerset and the next year before all work related to the dam, including the hydroelectric power station was complete.
There are two public access areas on Somerset Dam, Kirkleigh and The Spit. Both locations have multi-lane, concrete boat ramps with facilities for day-trippers. Camping is permitted and caravans are catered for at Kirkleigh and below the dam wall at Somerset Park in the small town of Somerset. During busy periods the two camping locations can be filled to capacity with room for a maximum of 2,200 campers at Kirkleigh and 800 at Somerset Park. The dam contains 30 km of navigable waterway and a permit is required to use watercraft on the lake.
The lake is a popular fishing destination, one of the top five fishing spots in the state. Fish species found in the dam include Australian bass, golden perch, silver perch, bony bream, eel-tailed catfish, spangled perch, Mary River cod, snub nosed gar, Queensland lungfish and saratoga. A Stocked Impoundment Permit is required to fish in the dam.
- "SEQWater's Dams - Somerset Dam". seqwater.com.au. SEQWater Corporation. Retrieved 2009-05-11.[dead link]
- Seqwater rainfall and dam level update
- Brian Williams (009-04-04). "Somerset Dam water released as deluge delivers supply bonus". The Courier Mail. News Limited. Retrieved 2008-04-27.
- Environmental Protection Agency (Queensland) (2000). Heritage Trails of the Great South East. State of Queensland. pp. 49–50. ISBN 0-7345-1008-X.
- "SEQWater - Dam Construction". seqwater.com.au. SEQWater Corporation. Retrieved 2009-05-11.[dead link]
- Harrison, Rod; Ernie James, Chris Sully, Bill Classon, Joy Eckermann (2008). Queensland Dams. Bayswater, Victoria: Australian Fishing Network. pp. 138–139. ISBN 978-1-86513-134-4.
- Melanie Maeseele (2009-04-08). "Campers stream into full dam sites". Ipswich Queensland Times. APN News & Media. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- Sweetwater Fishing Australia - Saratoga
- Do I need a permit?
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