The group met for a second time Monday while it tries to develop an alternative plan to using the lake.
Georgia has been embroiled in a decades-long fight with Alabama and Florida over water rights.
Joe Maltese, one of four representatives from downstream of Atlanta and LaGrange’s point-man on West Point Lake, said he commends Gov. Sonny Perdue for calling together the task force.
“He’s given a lot of attention to this important issue and deserves credit for bringing it out into the open,” Maltese said.
The 15-county metro Atlanta area, which doesn’t include Troup, faces a loss of 280 million gallons of water a day without Lanier.
Georgia Public Broadcasting said Gwinnett, Forsyth and Hall counties would be hardest hit if a federal judge’s ruling that Georgia is illegally taking water from Lake Lanier holds.
Conservation measures discussed at the meeting include gray water recycling, tapping into ground water, and desalinizing sea water from Georgia’s coast.
Monday’s session was the second of four planned by the task force; the first was a “getting to know you” meeting. The last two meetings will be for questions and answers and a final recommendation to the General Assembly.
On Monday, the group went over all possible options Atlanta and Georgia could take if federal Judge Paul Magnuson’s ruling holds and Atlanta can’t use Lake Lanier for a water supply after 2012.
The options presented Monday to replace Lake Lanier’s supply focused on “the three C’s”: conservation of water; capture of sources, including reservoirs and wells; and control - through basin transfers.
The good news for West Point - possibly - is that transferring water from West Point Lake to metro Atlanta is one of the most expensive options. The state estimates it could get about 100 million gallons a day, but the cost of the infrastructure to get it north would be about $1,100 per million gallons.
“There are a lot of solutions that are worthy of consideration,” Maltese said, adding that everyone in the group - including those downstream - wants a strong Atlanta.
Figures provided by the state say a “cost of inaction” would have an economic impact of $26 billion a year if Atlanta was left without a stable drinking water source.
“We want a strong Atlanta but we don’t want to wind up transferring the wealth of the rest of the state to Atlanta at our cost,” Maltese said.