What is a drilling moratorium?
A drilling moratorium for water wells is a temporary suspension or prohibition on the drilling of new water wells in a specific area. This can be done by a government or regulatory body in response to a water shortage or other issue that may be affecting the quantity or quality of groundwater in the area. Often a groundwater district will be responsible for this.
The purpose of a moratorium is to help manage and conserve water resources in the affected area, and to prevent further depletion or contamination of the groundwater supply. The duration of the moratorium can vary depending on the circumstances, but it is typically lifted once the underlying issues have been addressed and the water resources have been restored.
At their regular board meeting on January 5, 2023, the Hill Country Underground Water Conservation District, which covers Gillespie County, extended a moratorium initially imposed in July 2022 for another 90 days. According to the order, the moratorium prohibits "issuing new permits on wells used for irrigation, municipal and commercial purposes within Gillespie County. The moratorium will continue until the current drought is broken and aquifer conditions improve." This includes PWS wells.