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Here's a more recent answer. This works on my Ubuntu 12.04 as of 08/2014. This is a more detailed version of Michael Korn's answer.

$ mkdir -p pcl_ws/src
$ cd pcl_ws/src
$ git clone -b groovy-unstable-devel
$ cd perception_pcl
$ git checkout 528328f
$ cd ..
$ catkin_init_workspace
$ cd ..
$ catkin_make_isolated    # this step takes awhile

If you're trying to build a Catkin package:

(I've not tested this; I have a rosbuild workspace.)

$ source pcl_ws/devel_isolated/setup.bash
$ cd <your catkin groovy workspace>
$ catkin_make
$ source devel/setup.bash

If you're trying to build a Rosbuild package:

$ cd <your rosbuild groovy workspace>
$ vim .rosinstall

change this line:

- setup-file: {local-name: /opt/ros/groovy/}

to this:

- setup-file: {local-name: path/to/pcl_ws/devel_isolated/}


$ source setup.bash
$ rosmake <your package that needs PCL 1.7>

VoilĂ !

Now, if you look for pcl_ros, it should show you the custom-built version:

$ rospack find pcl_ros

(FYI, what you have done is built your own version of the pcl_ros package and PCL and overlayed them on top of your existing ROS Groovy installation. The version of PCL you built is not quite the 1.7.0 release, but it hopefully has whatever you want to use. For more on overlaying workspaces see here and here.)