Efforts to repair the fire-damaged main drinking-water pumping station for Montgomery and Prince George's counties continued with some success yesterday as individuals and business kept their water consumption below normal, a WSSC official said.

The repairs have increased the pumping capacity of the Potomac water treatment plant, which was damaged by fire Wednesday, to 120 million gallons a day - still far below the daily average of 180 million gallons, WSSC spokesman Art Brigham said yesterday.

As a result the WSSC and the two local jurisdiction were asking residents and business to continue water conservation efforts by cutting normal water consumption back by at least 15 per cent.

Residents and business are still prohibited from using water for outdoor purposes except between the hour of 9 p.m. and midnight, Birgham said. Local police are enforcing the ban, which cuts out daytime car washing and lawn watering.

The increase capacity of the pumping station is due to the installation Saturday night of permanent electrical transformers replacing several temporary ones used since Thursday to power the pumps, Brigham said.

Residents used 135 million gallons of water Saturday, 18 million more than were consumed Friday, but Brigham said that the usage rate coincides with the target consumption rate of 60 gallons per day per person.

The water usage figure is expected to remain constant even after business open as normal on Monday because "the transfer to the businesses during the week," Brigham said. "People at home who were conserving will go to work and conserve."

Brigham said it could still be weeks before the plant's pumping capacity is back to normal.

"There will be a gradual improvement of the system," he explained. "When the additional transformers get set up this week, we will have more power. And then as the electrical system is improved, the capacity will increase. Brigham stressed that there was currently no repair schedule.