Managers of the utility companies that supply much of Loudoun County's water were encouraged by last week's rainfall--three inches at Washington Dulles International Airport even before Friday's rain--but they were not prepared to declare an end to the drought.

Though many creeks and streams began to run again and lawns began to lose their concretelike quality, mandatory water use restrictions remained in effect for customers of the Loudoun County Sanitation Authority, which supplies 30,000 households and businesses in eastern Loudoun.

Dale Hammes, general manager of the Sanitation Authority, said twice as much water as usual was flowing in Goose Creek late last week--7 million gallons a day compared with the normal flow of 3.5 million gallons a day. But the Beaver Dam Reservoir south of Ashburn, which draws from the creek, rose only slightly and was still 13 feet below capacity, Hammes said.

"The jury is probably still out" on the drought's end, said James Warfield, a spokesman for the Fairfax County Water Authority, from which Loudoun buys some of its water for residents in the eastern part of the county. Fairfax's Occoquan Reservoir bounced from 6.2 billion gallons of water in storage to 7.5 billion gallons, about two feet below capacity.