The South Florida Water Management District is committed to open and transparent two-way communication with the public we serve. That includes avoiding technical jargon and speaking plainly about what we are doing, what we are planning to do and what our activities mean to YOU.
Participate in the Process
We encourage the public to participate in the decision-making process and to be actively engaged at whatever level they choose. We hold meetings in locations throughout our 16-county region, and whenever possible, we make them available for viewing via webcast on our home page or videoconference.
Florida enjoys an exceptionally broad public records law. Open Government, or Government-in-the-Sunshine, provides a right of access to government proceedings at both the state and local levels. The law applies to both elected and appointed boards and has been applied to any gathering of two or more members of the same board to discuss a matter which may come before that board for action. There is also a constitutionally guaranteed right of access to meetings of collegial public bodies. Virtually all state and local public bodies are covered by the open meetings requirements – with the exception of the judiciary and the state Legislature. These units of government have their own constitutional provisions relating to access.
The Florida Supreme Court has determined that public records are all materials made or received by an agency in connection with official business which are used to perpetuate, communicate or formalize knowledge. They are not limited to traditional written documents. Tapes, photographs, films and sound recordings are also considered public records subject to inspection unless a statutory exemption exists. For more information, see Chapter 119.07, Florida Statutes.
Florida law states that an agency must respond within the "limited reasonable time" it takes an agency to retrieve and record the record, and delete those portions of the record that are exempt. The length of time it takes this agency to provide the records varies somewhat with the volume of the request, but South Florida Water Management District is committed to providing requested records as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The Sunshine Law addresses the right to access, inspect, and copy existing public records but it does not mandate that an agency give out information from the records or create new records to accommodate a request for information. In addition, an agency is not generally required to reformat its records to meet a requestor's particular needs.
If you have determined that the records you are requesting are located at a particular South Florida Water Management District office and you would like to review the records in person, you may do so during regular business hours, Monday through Friday.
Some records are exempt. Get more information about public records and open government from the Florida First Amendment Foundation and from the University of Florida Brechner Center for Freedom of Information.
Our Governing Board, which makes policy for the agency and represents both local and regional interests, meets every month. The Board also schedules special meetings to seek public input on the agency's budget and important initiatives.
Advisory groups and local, state and federal government partners meet at our facilities. We also host meetings on water management topics throughout the region and the state.
The SFWMD participates in a number of local and regional community, business and public events within the 16 counties included within our boundaries. Links to meeting schedules are listed below. Live webcasts (if available) are posted on our home page shortly before meetings begin.