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Natural Resources

For Immediate Release

Russian River inflatable dam being inflated

SANTA ROSA, CA | June 06, 2024

En español »

Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) will begin the multi-day process of inflating its rubber dam located in the Russian River near Forestville on June 10. 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. The dam can take four to 14 days to fully inflate, depending on river flows. When fully inflated, the rubber dam creates a 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.  

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

Boaters must portage around the rubber dam. 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.   

Sonoma Water encourages residents to continue to use water efficiently. Now is the time to repair leaky faucets and toilets. Additional water conservation tips are available at the Sonoma-Marin Water Saving Partnership website,


Sonoma Water provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. Visit us online at

Andrea Rodriguez
Communications Manager
(707) 331-2040