Somerset Dam
Somerset Dam

Local workers prioritised for dam upgrade project

THE pandemic has failed to slow discussions surrounding the planned Somerset Dam Upgrade Project, with community and company representatives meeting online over the weekend.

The upgrade project aims to significantly overhaul the safety standards of the dam, floodproofing it from future weather events.

A Community Reference Group was formed as part of the planning process, incorporating members of local businesses, community groups, and Seqwater representatives to consider the options and impacts related to the project.

The topics discussed in their latest meeting, held via Zoom, include the economic effects of the project, including employment opportunities, accommodation costs, and the requirements to establish a Construction Workers Camp.

CRG member Bronwyn Davies offered some details on the outcomes of the discussions.

“The group recognises the need to ensure workers are looked after and contractors look after them,” she said.

“It also recognises the importance of local procurement, local employment and local engagement, and the need to ensure opportunities are spread throughout the region and impacts on local communities are minimised.”

She also clarified that ‘local’ in this context referred to the whole of the Somerset Region, and that Seqwater is still in the process of settling construction details.

This local focus is something the Somerset Regional Council has been asking Seqwater to commit to for many months.

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The weekend meeting follows the CRG’s previous discussion on March 14 about potential health and comfort impacts of the project, which noted there would be significant dust, noise, and vibrations associated with the four-year project.

It was also noted full-time construction could place more demand on the limited health services in the area, and would likely reduce tourism to the Somerset Dam village.

The full discussions and resolutions of the past three CRG meetings can be found on the Seqwater website.

The next meeting will be held May 30, on the subject of roads and traffic.

To share feedback, concerns, questions, or ideas with the CRG, contact them via email at

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