The dam was originally constructed in 1837 to provide supplemental water supply for the Stillwater Reservoir that was used actively for industrial purposes by the former owner of both dams, the Woonasquatucket Reservoir Company. The structure is now owned by CPWL.
One of the most crucial responsibilities of our association is maintaining the extensive earthen dam works, drainage culverts, spillways, gatehouse, and other important technical components that make up the dam. Should any one of these systems be compromised in such a way that the resulting floodwaters caused damages, lake-front property owners would potentially be held liable and responsible for the cost of those damages.
For that reason, every property owner on the lake has a vested interest in maintaining our dam to ensure that it remains a safe barrier between those of us that enjoy the fun and beauty of the lake and the safety of the people and property that would be impacted by its failure.
This is the concrete structure that is visible from the lake and Route 44. The gate originally functioned with a large "gate" which could be raised or lowered to open or close the flow of water out of the lake. Within the large "gate" was a smaller gate which allowed a more precise control of how much water flowed out of the lake.
Over the years, this system experience several problems; frequently debris would become stuck in the gate requiring divers to clean it out. Needless to say, this is not a fun task in January.
In 2008, a structure was added where the water enters the gatehouse. This was a rail system which allows metal plates to be added (or removed), and the water level is controlled by the number and height of the plates. The gate is now left open between early November and late April, and the metal plates are used to control the water level.
The spillway is basically a break in the levee about 200' long, which is about 6 feet below the top of the levee. If the water level of the lake rises above the height of the spillway, it flows over the break and out of the lake.
The outflow from both the Gatehouse and the Spillway flow into the small pond at the intersection of West Greenville Road and Route 44. The water then flows under Route 44 and eventually into Mill Pond.
An earthen man-made structure, the levee is what formed the body of water we know today as Waterman Lake. The levee is divided up into three main sections:
- The Main Dam, which is approximately 19 feet high at its highest point and 430 feet long.
- Bookers Dam, a 1,500-foot section earthen dike (referred to as Bookers Dam) is located 300 ft right of the main dam.
- The Marina Dam, made up mostly of 12-inch thick concrete walls which stretch over 330 feet
- The Pine Ledge section, which goes from Pine Ledge Road to West Greenville Road is about 800 feet long
- The Spillway section is on the east side of West Greenville Road and is about 1350 feet long. The 197-foot spillway is in this section
When combined with the spillway and other sections, the levee is nearly 5000' long and requires consistent mowing and other maintenance. One of the main responsibilities of CPWL is the upkeep and care of the Levee.