There is a remarkable number of dams in the Harz mountains, as water power was harnessed here long ago to operate the pumps and rock-crushing mills used for mining. Nowadays, Harz dams are used for generating electricity, for drink water reservoirs, and for flood protection—especially during the springtime thaw.
The thirty reservoir lakes in the Upper Harz area, which are also part of the Oberharzer Wasserregal (Upper Harz Water Rights System), are a product of the oldest dams still in operation in Germany—and each lake is unique. They are in great demand for sailing, windsurfing, swimming, and rowing. Bikers and in-line skaters also find a real dreamland here.
From Bad Grund, you drive through Wildemann, then Lauthental, and after about twenty minutes, you have arrived! Those who like water sports will love this dam.
Swimming, sailing, wind-surfing and rowing are all permitted here. What is more, footpaths go through wonderful scenery and make for very enjoyable long walks.
This dam is the longest in the Harz (750 meters) and it was built from 1963 to 1966. Up to 20 million cubic meters of water are contained in a lake 32 meters deep and around 5 km. long. Its main use is for flood protection and raising the water table, but it also powers a private hydraulic electric power plant.
Coming from Bad Grund, you drive towards Clausthal-Zellerfeld via Wildemann/Lauthental. Then cross the Innerste Talsperre Dam and head towards Goslar. Right before Goslar, turn right and go through Juliushütte. After about 30 minutes, you have arrived at the Granetal Dam.
No water sports of any kind are permitted here: this is a drink water reservoir for the City of Bremen, which is 200 km. away.
The dam is about 600 meters long and 61 meters high and was built from 1966 to 1969. Up to 46 million cubic meters of water from the areas of the Oker, Radau and Innerste rivers are contained in the basin. Those interested in water purification technology can learn more about it in the Harzwasserwerk (Harz Water Works) at the lake. Visitors are invited to two permanent exhibitions, several multi-media shows, and guided tours of the works.
This wonderful recreational area can be reached from Bad Grund by car in less than 30 minutes. From Osterode, it is only 5 kilometers away, and while walking along the medieval wall of that city (9 km. long!), there is a marvelous view of the lake and the fortifications. In the charming coniferous and deciduous forests right next to the water, you can experience pristine nature at its best. Windsurfing and sailing are offered here.
The dam was built from 1928 to 1931. The base of the concrete dam wall is up to 7 m. thick and towards the top it becomes thinner—only 2 m. thick. Up to 25 million cubic meters of water are retained by the Soesetal Dam. It provides drinking water for the surrounding communities, and it is also used for flood protection.
The shortest way from Bad Grund to the Oker Dam is through Clausthal-Zellerfeld and Altenau. This is about a 40-minute drive. The Oker Dam backs the biggest water reservoir of the western Harz. We especially recommend the boat tour of Oker Lake.
Construction of the dam was begun in 1938 but was interrupted by the war until 1949. It was completed in 1956. Two years before completion, the inhabitants of
the small village of Schulenberg were relocated to make room for the new lake bed. Today, this community is situated on the Kleiner Wiesenberg Mountain, with a view on the lake. The dam is used
mainly for generating electricity and for flood protection.
The Okerstausee Reservoir is a paradise for those who like water sports: You can row, sail, ride pedal-boats, and windsurf. Diving can be a very special experience, as the remnants of the village of Schulenberg, as well as streets and bridges from the time before the reservoir, are still easily visible under water. If you want to go diving, you first have to get permission from the Harzwasserwerk (water works). Otherwise you can have a look at this splendid underwater scenery from the MS “Aqua Marin” ship.