Despite several days of rain in mid-September, the drought status in Montgomery County has increased to the highest level tracked by the U.S. Drought Monitor. As a result, the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District has increased its temporary drought buffer from 10% to 15%, according to a Sept. 18 news release.

What we know

The LSCGD is a seven-member elected board of directors which regulates groundwater in Montgomery County. The board previously approved a temporary drought buffer of 10% on Aug. 28, which affects permitted wells, or those producing more than 25,000 gallons of water per day, according to the district's website.
  • The buffer allows a temporary increase above the annual allocation.
  • As of Sept. 18, 40.69% of the county was under exceptional drought conditions, or D4, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. A total of 59.31% of the county was in D3 status, or extreme drought conditions.
  • The change in the drought buffer is effective retroactively for all of 2023 and affects the well's Annual Production Limitations.
  • Permittees who utilize the Temporary Drought Buffer are still required to pay water use fees for additional water pumped over their APLs.
  • Over-pumping beyond the allocation including the drought buffer is a violation of the district's rules.
What's next

LSGCD has recommended that permit holders implement contingency plans for the drought to prevent over-pumping.

Despite the drought conditions, the Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office lifted a burn ban in place in the county as of Sept. 18.