This topic has sparked some energy in me, and I have been revisiting some sites and resources that I came across 2 years ago when I did a Permaculture Design Course in Nicaragua, and some reading that I have since done.
My feeling about the water situation, like any of the other environmental and social problems on the planet, is that the only approach is an integrative one. Whole systems that take a long-view approach and use the existing wisdom of the systems in nature. There are many simple things that can make an enormous difference. Small scale initiatives repeated many times.
It is proven that planting trees dramatically increases rainfall in the tropics. It is possible to reclaim deserts and arid cattle grazing land and transform it into fertile soil. If this were done on a large scale it would make a huge difference to the whole ecology, including people. The technology and know how for this already exists. In urban areas the de-concretisation of the environment with more planting, green roofs, has shown to impact the micro-climate.
I found a nice example of this – a TED talk about a successful rainforest restoration and its wider impact.
I also have a great list of books from my permaculture course on the topic of water usage, and designing healthy systems. If anyone is interested in this, I can email it to them. There’s so much great stuff out there.
Here is one more link with ideas that anyone can implement in their own home / immediate environment: