Recently I started hand washing my dishes. I reasoned that we only generate enough dishes for one load per day and that by washing the dishes after each meal the workload would not be bad and I would also be saving water. A boon for the environment and for my wallet!
Today I did a little research on exactly how much water my dishwasher uses. I have an Asko dishwasher (purchased by the previous owner of my home.) Apparently this is some kind of high end Swedish dishwasher that is designed to be very quiet (which it is) but also to use very little water. (4.6 gallons per load for normal wash and 3.9 gallons for a light wash)
I figured out I use between 2-3 gallons of water each time I wash and at 3-4 times a day I am using 6-12 gallons of water to wash dishes every day rather than the 4.6 gallons to run the dishwasher once.
In addition, the dishwasher has a temperature boost so I can actually turn down the hot water heater a bit to save energy and still have clean, sanitary dishes!