PHOENIX — Arizona lawmakers voted Thursday to expand the state's growth management efforts, approving a bipartisan bill to empower counties and cities to place new restrictions on rural development without adequate water supplies.
The House's 50-1 vote completed legislative action on the bill, which now goes to Gov. Janet Napolitano, a supporter. The Senate approved the bill on March 8 on a 26-2 vote.
Legislative approval of the measure came a quarter-century after the 1980 enactment of a historic groundwater management law imposing new pumping and irrigation restrictions in "active management areas."
Those areas include Phoenix, Tucson and Prescott. Those urban-oriented restrictions were aimed at curbing groundwater depletion that outpaced natural replacement.
Subsequent population growth in the nation's fastest growing state has started to crowd some rural areas, leaving some straining to secure adequate water supplies.