Water shortage problems can be mitigated by a combination of water conservation, augmentation of water supplies and importation of water from other locations. Residential water users, industry and agriculture can reduce their water consumption by implementing proven water conservation techniques.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends several easy ways for homeowners to conserve water, including planting drought-tolerant landscaping, installing low-flow toilets and shower heads, and fixing leaky pipes. Farmers can grow less water-intensive crops and use efficient modern irrigation equipment. When drought conditions are extreme, farmers can temporarily fallow their fields. Industrial users can use water-efficient systems and recirculate water used for cooling equipment.
Municipalities can augment their water supply through processes such as desalination. This process removes salt from sea water so that it can be used for drinking or other common purposes. Another way to increase the potable water supply is to recycle water. Many golf courses in the United States are already using recycled water. The technology exists and is widely used in some parts of the world, such as Singapore, to purify water so thoroughly that it can be used for the drinking supply.
Areas experience water shortages can also import their water from other locations. Canals are the most common way to move water from one area to another. An example of an extensive canal system is the Central Arizona Project in Arizona, which brings in Colorado River water to Phoenix and Tucson.