Since washing by hand takes a considerable amount of water to clean only one item at a time, I think it might actually take more water to wash the same amount of clothes all by hand. When your clothes are all being washed together they are sharing the water. Your best bet is an energy and water conserving machine. It is important to try and fill the machine when you wash, or adjust the settings and fill to the correct load amount so the machine is not overfilling itself.
Another option is a hand-turned, plug-free washer. These washers can be found at camping shops, and can wash 5 lbs of clothes with about half the water of even the most energy efficient models (25 litres vs. 50 litres.) More than saving water, these models will save electricity, and give you a pretty good workout!
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