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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

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

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 anelileg

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

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 anelileg


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

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 anelileg

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 anelileg

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 […]

nunu of the month – Damselfly
Fri, 06 Jun 2014 09:17 by anelileg

Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Insecta Order: Odonata Sub-Order: Zygoptera Damselflies have deceiving names as they are carnivorous predators. Damselflies can be found swimming or hunting on the vegetation. They have good eyesight and a modified lower lip called the mask. This mask is used to catch prey, it lies folded under the head and is released […]

Nunu of The Month

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

This month we look at:


True Flies


Some true flies can tolerate really filthy water and use haemoglobin (blood worms) or "snorkels"/respiratory tubes (rat tailed maggots) to survive in these conditions.

What I eat: Dead organic manner


How I Breathe: Breathe through my skin (blood worms), gills (black fly) or respiratory tubes (rat tailed maggots)

Habitat: Bottom dwellers and free swimming

Water Quality: 1-15 / Range: Wide tanging tolerance but generally highly tolerant of Pollution

Have you seen one?














Recent Observations

Highmoor stream-Arjen&Anne Site

: Mark
: GroundTruth
: 26 Jun 2015
: 6.67


: Zikwe
: University of Venda
: 25 Jun 2015
: 5.67


: Zikwe
: University of Venda
: 25 Jun 2015
: 5.63


: Zikwe
: University of Venda
: 25 Jun 2015
: 5.67


: Zikwe
: University of Venda
: 25 Jun 2015
: 6.00


: Zikwe
: University of Venda
: 25 Jun 2015
: 5.50


: Zikwe
: University of Venda
: 25 Jun 2015
: 5.40


: Zikwe
: University of Venda
: 25 Jun 2015
: 5.44

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

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