ASDSO Dam Safety Toolbox

Rubber Dams

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An example of an inflatable rubber dam.

(Image Source: Wikipedia)

Rubber dams are inflatable, cylindrical dams placed across channels that act as a weir or dam to raise the upstream water level when the structure is inflated. They are typically made of a rubberized fabric membrane. Stainless steel mesh or ceramic chips can be embedded in the membrane to hinder vandalism. They can be filled with water, air, or both. Rubber dams are normally used to temporarily increase storage at existing dams, divert water for irrigation, provide flood control, or provide a reservoir for recreation.


Learn more about important design considerations for rubber dams from the Tempe Town Lake Dam case study on

Rubber dams can be prone to vandalism if not protected. Learn more from the failure of Maple Grove Dam at

Best Practices Resources

Engineering Guidelines for the Evaluation of Hydropower Projects: Chapter 10- Other Dams (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)

Revision ID: 7307
Revision Date: 07/18/2023