Mobile Workshops Spotlight: Upcycling, Water and... Salamanders?

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Continuing our Congress of Cities mobile workshop spotlight series, this week we'll be talking about programs that address some of the most critical issues for communities - waste reduction and sustainable water resources.

As we mentioned in our last post, this year's mobile workshops in Austin have a particular focus on the core principles behind community resilience and sustainability: economy, equity and the environment. We're quite proud of the progress we've made in recent years in the City of Austin, and hope that you'll find some useful takeaways from what we've learned on our own journey toward sustainability. 

You can find the full list of mobile workshops on the conference website. Make your plans now, as these workshops are likely to fill fast!

Any community that has a library knows the challenges of managing inventory. What's the best thing to do with all those materials you've decided you no longer need? How about all of those well-meaning donations of used materials that never find their way to the library collection? Landfilling them certainly isn't the sustainable solution, so the Austin Public Library launched its own storefront: Recycled Reads. Sign up for Recycled Reads and Upcycling with the Austin Public Library, and learn how Recycled Reads not only offers low-cost books and media to the public, but also how they're teaching the community to "upcycle" items for creative new uses.  

Two sessions related to water resources highlight best practices on both ends of the water management spectrum. For those interested in water quality and resource management, Barton Springs: Recreation, Habitat and the Edwards Aquifer will demonstrate how multiple partners are working to protect the cross-jurisdictional water source that ultimately fills Austin's iconic Barton Springs Pool. We'll follow the path of water from its source to Barton Springs, learning the history of the pool and efforts to protect it and its most notable resident - the endangered Barton Spring Salamander, which only exists in the pool and three surrounding springs. 

For those more interested in the infrastructure required to deliver water to residents, we've got a trip planned to tour one of Austin's newest and most significant investments: Water Treatment Plant 4. The new $530 million plant provides critical redundancy in the region's aging water system, and does so while meeting LEED Silver standards and reducing the utility's overall power consumption needs. Capable of treating 50 million gallons daily (MGD), and expandable to up to 300 MGD, it's a prime example of investing in a sustainable future for Central Texas. 

In the coming months, we'll continue to pick a few of our notable mobile workshops and bring them to you here. There are plenty of reasons to choose to attend the Congress of Cities this year. Having the opportunity to learn about some of these local innovations and innovators first-hand is certainly a big one, and we look forward to sharing these successes with as many of you as we possibly can.

*Mobile workshops are open to all conference registrants free of charge, but they do require additional registration as spots are limited. You may add mobile workshops to your registration during the initial conference registration process, or you may go back and add them later by signing in to the registration site.