Urgent government action is needed to avoid a repeat of last summer's floods, the Local Government Association has warned.
Around 500 pubs were hit by the worst floods in 60 years last July, with some pubs only re-opening in the last few months.
Now the LGA is calling on the government to introduce a law to force greater co-operation between water companies, to avoid a repeat of the disaster.
Cllr Paul Bettison, chairman of the LGA environment board, said: "The current system is fundamentally flawed. We simply cannot continue to have a situation where it is not clear who is responsible for dealing with vitally important functions such as drainage.
"There are glaring gaps in this country's readiness to cope with widespread and prolonged flooding. Last summer's floods were no fluke, and we run the real risk of witnessing a repeat - or worse - unless urgent action is taken now.
"We need to get back to basics. There should be no opt-out, no excuses and clear penalties for anybody who refuses to co-operate with managing our water systems. Councils should be allowed to start banging heads together so we can be better prepared to protect people and property."
The LGA is also calling on the Government to set out an investment strategy - with a timetable for actions - otherwise councils and local people will be taking on additional burdens for dealing with flooding without adequate resources.
Flood recovery minister John Healey announced earlier this month an extra £365,000 in funding to three of the councils affected by the floods.