Much of the waste & garden water-guzzling in the city, I believe, is people trying to maintain a lawn that looks like it's been transplanted from straight from England.
Yup, yup. This is true of America, too, that English ideal. Thing is, England is a wet wet wet wet place (and I'm soooooooo glad I don't live there) and the lush lawns they have don't work so well elsewhere.
I don't own the house in which we live now, so am limited in what I can do. Have converted the largish garden to native wildflowers, but the landlord would freak if I did anything more general (very large lawn). Plan to when we own a home, though.