Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. lifted water restrictions for Harford County and other areas served by Baltimore's water supply Thursday.
Water restrictions were lifted for most of Central Maryland last month, but Harford -- along with parts of Anne Arundel, Howard and Baltimore counties -- remained under restriction because of water contracts with the city. Baltimore's reservoirs were at lower-than-acceptable levels at the time.
Those reservoirs now contain more than 61 billion gallons of water, which is close to normal for this time of year. Additional snowmelt is expected to increase levels in the reservoir system.
Restrictions in place since April last year prohibited the use of water for activities including washing cars and watering lawns.
"As we have learned during this drought, water is a very precious resource that must be used wisely. I encourage citizens throughout Maryland to continue taking steps to conserve water in their everyday activities, by repairing leaks, installing low-flow fixtures and appliances, and adopting smart water-use habits," Ehrlich said.
Water in Baltimore's reservoir system increased by nearly 13 percent between Feb. 17 and March 3. Precipitation, ground water and stream flow levels are all above normal.
The recent drought was among the worst in the past century. Stream flows and ground water levels at many locations in the central region set record lows.
Robert Cooper, deputy director of the county's Public Works Department's Water and Sewer Division, served as drought coordinator.
"I really appreciate the efforts of so many of our citizens to follow the restrictions. It really made a difference," Cooper said. "I encourage our citizens to follow Governor Ehrlich's suggestion to continue to practice good water conservation."
A list of water conservation tips is available on the Maryland Department of the Environment's Web site at www.mde. state.md.us.