Sorry ... by choice, I live a long ways away from Cali. I find it to be a nice place to visit (I really liked the bicycle paths along Santa Monica Bay and the San Gabriel River) ... but not a place of permanent residence for me. :-p
No help to you on the place to live, sorry. I see that you are looking for recommendations for water filters. I love our Berkey filter. It doesn't take batteries, has very little plastic, and best of all, the water is delicious. Well, delicious for water anyway. You'd need to check the dimensions to see if you can find a space for it, but I adore mine. I wrote about it here: http://coonifer.blogspot.com/2010/01/get-it-myself-from-mountain-stream.html I think I found your blog though a tiny house site. I've been following your building adventure with interest and admiration. What a cool project!