For people who are accustomed to the climate of the Eastern US it may be a difficult to comprehend the situation in California. This is a Mediterranean climate. That means we have a wet season and a dry season. The dry season means no rain at all. The dry season runs for about 4 months with about 3 additional months of very low rainfall. That means that whatever rain we are going to get has to come between November and March with the bulk of it coming in January and February. This is not about climate change. It has been this way for thousands of years. The amount of rain in the wet season has always been highly variable and unpredictable. The level of rainfall decreases steadily from north to south.
The politics of water and it scarcity have always dominated California history since the days of the gold rush. There are many fascinating tales associated with it. It has always been about taking water from some place where there is a good bit of it and moving it to another place where there isn't much. That means moving it from north to south. There is very little water that falls on California that isn't moved through one of the multiple irrigation systems that cover the entire state.
Without irrigation systems this state could only accommodate a very modest size population. Instead we now have 38M people. Their water interests are divided among urban dwellers, agricultural interests, environmentalist and recreational users. Resources are pushed to the limit. Various proposals are on the table to divert water from environmental resources such as fisheries to the agricultural users of the San Joaquin Valley and the urban needs of Southern California.
The pressure is being dramatically heightened by a particularly dry year that may be the worst since records have been maintained. Calender year 2013 saw record low rainfall. Reservoirs and snow pack are at record lows. There is little sign of any rain on the way. This sort of situation happens periodically, There were two serious back to back dry years in 76-77. The problem is that as the population grows and water use expands there is less slack to meet the next emergency.
People in New York who are buried under a blizzard today may find it difficult to understand how people could complain about sunshine. However, I can remember the water restrictions that were imposed in 77 and they weren't fun. The reason that other people need to pay some attention to what is happening here, is that California probably offers a glimpse of what is in store for much of the rest of the world. Despite the best efforts of technology, the planet is an ecological system. It's resources are finite. There is a limit to the life that it can sustain. Instead of trying to conserve those resources we appear to be making the situation worse with the various forces that are contributing to climate change and the depletion of renewable resources and natural habitats. I seriously doubt that there is any easy and comfortable solution to the situation.