|Jurisdiction||16 counties in Florida:|
|Headquarters||2379 Broad Street|
Brooksville, Florida 34604
|Annual budget||$188.2 million USD (2018)|
|Parent District||Florida Department of Environmental Protection|
The Southwest Florida Water Management District (or SWFWMD, unofficially nicknamed as "Swiftmud" based on the acronym), is one of five regional agencies directed by Florida state law to protect and preserve water resources. Established in 1961 the agency operates and maintains several large properties and flood protection projects, sometimes with other agencies. The District's responsibilities have expanded to include managing water supply and protecting water quality and the natural systems — rivers, lakes, wetlands and associated uplands.The District's stated mission is to protect water resources, minimize flood risks and ensure the public’s water needs are met.
The District encompasses approximately 10,000 square miles (30,000 km2) in all or part of 16 counties in west-central Florida including Charlotte, Citrus, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lake, Levy, Manatee, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, and Sumter counties, serving a population of more than 5 million people.
A 13-member Governing Board oversees District activities. Members are unpaid volunteers appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate to four-year terms to set policy and administer the budget. The Board chooses an executive director who is approved by the state Senate. The executive director oversees a diverse staff of professionals, including engineers, geologists, biologists, attorneys, educators and administrators.
Funding comes from voter-approved ad valorem property taxes, along with state and federal funding such as the state's Florida Forever Program. While there is a legislative limit on the tax levy of 1 mill ($1 for each $1,000 of assessed land value), actual tax levies have been less than the maximum.
Every year, about 2.5 million people visit public conservation lands acquired by the District and its partners to protect Florida's water resources. Properties in the district include: