MiniSASS app is now available on Google play or visit to download the app for free!!!

Welcome to miniSASS

What is miniSASS?

miniSASS is a simple tool which can be used by anyone to monitor the health of a river. You collect a sample of macroinvertebrates (small animals) from the water, and depending on which groups are found, you have a measure of the general river health and water quality in that river. 

Anyone can learn how to collect a miniSASS sample on a river. Once you have collected a sample you look for the different bug groups and score whether they were found.  The score then tells you the health class of the river, ranging across five categories from natural to very poor. 


Have a look at the How To page to see how easy it is. Through miniSASS you can learn about rivers, monitor the water quality of rivers within your community, and explore reasons why the water quality may not be as clean as everyone would like.


The most important feature of the new website is the miniSASS Map, which allows you to explore your catchment, find your river, look at any existing miniSASS results and then upload your own miniSASS results! The map also lets you explore your catchment to see the land uses and activites that might be improving or worsening water quality.


Get your community, school or family and friends involved in monitoring a selection of your streams and rivers. In this way a map of river health across Southern Africa will develop.  Communities can use the information and knowledge to illustrate the plight of their rivers, connect with other miniSASS samplers and investigate pollution sources.


Latest Blog Posts

miniSASS Newsletter July 2015
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 07:26 by miniSASS Team

miniSASS Newsletter July 2015

nunu of the month: True fly
Mon, 08 Dec 2014 11:53 by miniSASS Team

Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Insecta Order: Diptera Some true flies can tolerate really filthy oxygen depleted water and use haemoglobin (red blood worm) or “snorkels” (rat tailed) to survive in these conditions. The true flies are a very large and very diverse group. The Diptera is one of the largest orders with most of their families […]

miniSASS Newsletter: October 2014
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 13:04 by miniSASS Team

Makana Environews: Landfill fires and citizen science
Wed, 06 Aug 2014 07:12 by miniSASS Team

LANDFILL SITE WOES Fires continue to burn at the Grahamstown landfill site, generating toxic smoke that is breathed by all who live downwind. This is occurring despite the fact that the site is fenced and guarded around the clock. Recently the Masahlule Recycling Business, which had created employment and helped Grahamstown to reduce its landfill […]

miniSASS Newsletter: July 2014
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:40 by miniSASS Team


The WRC Eco-School miniSASS Challenge
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:24 by miniSASS Team

The Water Research Commission has launched a nationwide challenge to schools. The Challenge: To have highly informed water decision-making through science and technology at schools and for wider stakeholder groups and to develop innovative water solutions through practical, hands-on research that develops sustainable solutions. Fill in this entry form and stand a chance to win!!!!

Nunu Of The Month: The Other Mayflies
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 08:13 by miniSASS Team

Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Insecta Order: Ephemeroptera Mayfly larvae are the “cows” of freshwater streams and graze on algae. They swim by moving their abdomen up and down. The adult mayfly doesn’t eat at all and lives only for a few hours or days. The other mayflies are a large group and they vary significantly. The […]

miniSASS at the DWAS Youth Water Summit 2014
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 06:49 by miniSASS Team

The Department of Water and Sanitation in South Africa hosts a Youth Water Summit every year since 2010; this summit is strategically placed in the youth month of South Africa, June, every year as a key activity of the departments 2020 Vision Programme. The summit started on the 29th of June with a 2km Walk […]

Featured 'Nunu"

Aquatic macroorganisms are part of miniSASS and here we learn about their amazing facts and interesting adaptations.

This time we look at:



Aquatic Earthworm 

Interesting facts:


Physical Features

 Aquatic earthworms have tube like bodies with no defined head, legs or tentacles. Their thin body wall is a see-through pink skin revealing their intestines.


Habitat & habits

 Unlike their terrestrial counterparts they live permanently in freshwater. They are bottom dwellers living in the mud or on the river bed, also known as the benthic zone. They are usually found crawling in the mud while feeding or in a coiled up position when resting.   



 Their diet consists predominantly of dead organic matter and algae.



Tolerance to pollution

 Their muddy habitat provides them with very little oxygen. To survive these conditions earthworms have developed an adaptation to breathe through their skin. Their adaptation to live in oxygen depleted water gives them a tolerance score of 1 making them highly tolerant to polluted conditions.


Take a closer look!!!


Aquatic Earthworm

Recent Observations

Palmiet (KZN)-Nature Reserve

: Palmiet_KZN_River_Watch
: Business Unusual
: 19 Nov 2015
: 4.00

Little Pot-Woodcliffe Farm

: m_rouget
: 15 Nov 2015
: 6.60

Cata River-Upper Cata

: tsheyi
: 13 Nov 2015
: 4.78

Lebele-Ongeluksnek JSS

: tsheyi
: 27 Oct 2015
: 5.00

amanzimtoti-Illanda Wilds

: AmanzimtotiEcoSchool
: Amanzimtoti P
: 24 Oct 2015
: 4.00

Nahoon river-Abbotsford

: clarriebags
: Clarendon High School for Girls
: 23 Oct 2015
: 3.86

Maalgate-George Airport

: neil_@2286
: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
: 16 Oct 2015
: 3.50


: neil_@2286
: Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
: 16 Oct 2015
: 7.67

© 2015 Water Research Commission. This is an open source project. Get the source code at Github

Department of Water Affairs Water Research Commission GroundTruth WESSA LogoForWeb.png