Russian River Inflatable Dam Deflation Planned

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 25, 2021

CONTACT - Barry Dugan, 707-547-1930 (office), 707-331-2040 (cell),

Santa Rosa, CA - In anticipation of  the first big storm of the winter, the Sonoma County Water Agency (Sonoma Water) on Tuesday, January 26, 2021 will begin the process of deflating its rubber dam located in the Russian River near Forestville. Sonoma Water routinely deflates the rubber dam when Russian River flow forecasts show the river reaching 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) in order to prevent damage to the rubber dam from the high flows. The forecasted winter storm this week is expected to raise river flows above 5,000 cfs by Thursday.

The rubber dam is located just downstream of the Wohler Bridge on the Russian River and is normally raised in the spring or early summer when water demands increase. The rubber dam creates a pool of water that enhances Sonoma Water’s well levels in the area. Permanent fish ladders provide fish passage when the rubber dam is raised and also allow Sonoma Water to count the migration of adult salmon and steelhead with its underwater video system located in the fish ladders. When completely deflated, the rubber dam rests flat on the bottom of the Russian River.   

Even with the wet weather, the region is well behind normal rainfall totals. Sonoma Water encourages people to continue to use water efficiently. Now is the time to adjust or deactivate irrigation systems (if you haven’t already done so) and 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 on the Web at

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