Here's how far Sonoma County is going to fight the drought

Friday, April 16, 2021
Here's how far Sonoma Co. is going to fight the drought
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What do communities that rely on rainfall do in the case of severe drought? In Sonoma County, an inflatable dam - kind of like a giant, underground sponge - is coming to the rescue. Here's how:

FORESTVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- With every day that we do not see rain, our odds for a severe drought intensify. This is especially true in the North Bay, where communities rely on rainfall, not Sierra runoff.

Rainfall totals have been approximately one-third of normal this year.

RELATED: Petaluma cattle ranchers brace for 'worst drought ever' as rainwater runs dry

Already, the Sonoma County Water Agency has taken a drastic conservation step by inflating a rubber dam much earlier than normal at its Mirabel Pumping Facility near Forestville on the Russian River.

The dam backs up water, which then fills ponds, when then percolates into the deep wells that supply some 600,000 Sonoma County residents. Think of it as a giant, underground sponge, like a reservoir.

"The idea is to get the ground soaked, and to be able to pull it for our customers," said Assistant General Manager Pam Jeane.

Even if this works, prepare for mandatory water conservation this summer.

Watch the video in the player above for ABC7 News reporter Wayne Freedman's full report.