Meters which charge households more for using extra water to wash cars and water gardens are needed to help tackle shortages, engineers have said.
Despite the recent heavy rain, this year's drought has highlighted the problems surrounding the UK's water supplies, which the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) warns are at a "critical" point.
The security of the country's water supply is likely to worsen with a growing population and changes to the UK's rainfall as a result of climate change.
The engineering body said measures were needed, ranging from the construction of new reservoirs and small scale water storage to making it easier to share resources between water companies and encouraging homeowners to save water.
Water use in the home could be cut by around a third, the ICE estimates, but as consumers pay just £1 a day for unlimited water use there is little incentive to value the resource.
Universal water metering with discretionary tariffs that charge households more for high water use for non-essential activities such as cleaning the car, along with social tariffs to protect vulnerable customers, should be introduced, according to engineers.
New properties could be built with systems that recycle rainwater for use in flushing toilets, which use around 30% of the drinkable water supplied to homes.
And urban areas should have drainage systems which retain rainwater so it can be stored or used to recharge groundwater levels, rather than just channelling it straight into drains and out into rivers.
Michael Norton, chairman of the institution's water panel, also said that while hosepipe bans had been used to cope with this year's drought as a "short-term fix", they were not a long-term solution.
"In our view, they should not be a feature of water supply in the UK in the future," he said.