- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Senate has joined the House in passing a pair of bills that could ease the requirement for developers in two rural counties to show there’s enough water to supply new homes.

One bill requires Cochise and Yuma counties to go through added steps before requiring new developments to have a 100-year water supply. A second bill affecting some cities in those counties allows them to opt out of adequate water supply rules.

The legislation could help developer Castle & Cooke get around a lawsuit that’s holding up the development of nearly 7,000 homes in Sierra Vista.

Senate Bill 1400 would force a vote by county supervisors in rural counties as early as next year and every five years after to keep current rules in place. Senate Bill 1268 affects cities including Sierra Vista.

Opponents say the changes will hurt Arizona’s assured water supply laws, but backers say Cochise County has plenty of water. Gov. Doug Ducey must now decide whether to sign the legislation.

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