As a carry-over storage, the Sorpe Dam and Reservoir constructed between 1926 and 1935 primarily serves to support other Ruhrverband dams in raising low Ruhr water levels to ensure water supplies. A carry-over storage is a reservoir with a storage capacity larger than the average annual inflow, i.e. a reservoir that needs more than one year to fill up.
Water from neighbouring catchment areas reaches the reservoir via a diversion system, thus increasing the annual capacity of the Sorpe Reservoir.
In addition, the Sorpe Reservoir serves to produce drinking water and generate energy for local use. Moreover, it is used for watersports activities such as sailing, surfing, swimming, rowing and diving. While the western bank of the main reservoir and the preliminary reservoir in Ameck are home to numerous campsites and holiday houses, the eastern bank serves as a quiet retreat.
The Sorpe Reservoir is known as an attractive fishing ground with an annual catch of more than 50 kg per hectare.