National Water Week coming up on 14-22 March 2016, themed "water is life"

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 March 2016
Tue, 15 Mar 2016 08:20 by miniSASS Team

National Water Week miniSASS competition 2016
Tue, 08 Mar 2016 13:39 by miniSASS Team


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!!!!

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

Apies River-Pretoria Zoo

: Parks
: National Zoological Gardens of S.A
: 30 Apr 2016
: 6.33


: MinkeWitteveen
: ORCA Foundation
: 20 Apr 2016
: 4.80

Blyde River-Blyde Adv Camp

: BlydeAdventureCamp
: Blyde Adventure Camp
: 19 Apr 2016
: 6.90

Palmiet River-Deutsche Schule

: ChristineH
: 13 Apr 2016
: 3.33

Ngobongo-Cascade Falls

: Sheivine
: 04 Apr 2016
: 9.25

Reserve River-Bambanani Schoo

: eqhweni
: 04 Apr 2016
: 0.00

Maphophomana_Tr-Kwa-Miya School

: eqhweni
: 04 Apr 2016
: 5.33

Bloukrans-Loskop Road

: eqhweni
: 04 Apr 2016
: 3.60

© 2016 Water Research Commission. This is an open source project. Get the source code at Github

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