California is among the states grappling with a crisis of its own.
The state has lost nearly half of its water infrastructure in recent decades due to climate change, according to a report released last month by the California Water Foundation, an independent group.
Water in some areas is now more expensive than in others, while more homes are underwater than before the drought.
“California’s water system is at a tipping point,” said Jeff Henshaw, executive director of the Water Foundation.
“It is time to fix it.”
The report warned that California is in an unprecedented state of drought, and that the state faces an unprecedented water crisis.
“The state faces a looming water crisis with unprecedented water scarcity, extreme drought, increased risks of flooding and a potential for widespread impacts from a potential lack of water,” the report said.
A lack of supply “could result in significant costs for the state, including the cost of compensating households and businesses, and could potentially increase the likelihood of a catastrophic failure of the system.”
The drought, which began in June, has already cost California a staggering $4.2bn.
Some of the water that’s gone to waste could end up on landfills.
“This is a situation we’re talking about now in the US,” said Henshop, who added that “the costs are going to be huge”.
“We’ve seen this happen before.”
Water systems across the US have been hit with record-breaking water bills.
In April, the Washington, DC-based Waterkeeper Alliance said that more than 10,000 properties had unpaid bills for $3bn in water.
The group’s chief executive, Bob Reeder, said that the US government “should stop subsidising water infrastructure, and begin taking a hard look at the whole system”.
But he added that the government needs to be more “active in the system” and “have a clear direction”.
A report released by the Department of the Interior last month called for a “transition” to more water-efficient technologies, such as solar power, and urged the US to “think big”.
“The time is right to move from a system of fossil fuels and water to one that harnesses clean, renewable energy and water for all,” the department said.
“We need to rethink how we think about our water resources and how we design our infrastructure.”