Sonoma Water
Released by: Water Agency
For Immediate Release

Historically dry conditions and increased demands prompt inflation of Russian River inflatable dam

Santa Rosa, CA  –  April 9, 2021  –  Due to historically dry conditions and increasing water demands, the Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) this week began inflating its rubber dam located in the Russian River near Forestville. The rubber dam is a critical component of the Russian River water supply system that provides naturally filtered drinking water to more than 600,000 residents in portions of Sonoma and Marin counties.

The rubber dam is typically inflated in spring or early summer when demand for potable water increases. When fully inflated, the rubber dam creates a small pool of water from which Sonoma Water draws water for use in four off-stream infiltration ponds. The infiltration ponds help recharge groundwater, which is naturally filtered through sand and gravel and delivered to Sonoma Water’s customers.

Rainfall totals and reservoir levels in the Russian River basin are at historic lows. Sonoma Water and the Sonoma Marin Saving Water Partnership urge water users throughout the North Bay region to save water during this very dry year.

The rubber dam is located just downstream of the Wohler Bridge on the Russian River. When the rubber dam is raised, permanent fish ladders provide fish passage and allow Sonoma Water to count the migration of adult salmon and steelhead with its underwater video system located in the fish ladders.

Boaters must portage around the rubber dam, located downstream of Wohler Bridge. Public notices will be posted around the rubber dam warning the public not to recreate on or near the dam. California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations prohibit fishing within 250 feet of the upstream and downstream sides of the rubber dam.

Water conservation tips are available at the Sonoma Marin Water Saving Partnership website,


Contact Information

Ann DuBay

Contact us by Phone
404 Aviation Boulevard
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.51193, -122.7835