Please upload your miniSASS data, our database is growing and all the information we receive is valuable.

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.


miniSASS in action


Palmiet Catchment Rehabilitation Project

The Palmiet Catchment Rehabilitation Project (PCRP) is a pilot study, spanning three years from 2019 to 2022 which forms part of a larger engineering project known as the Aqueduct project of eThekwini, sponsored by the Infrastructure Investment Programme of South Africa (IIPSA) through the agency of Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). The primary aim of the PCRP is to focus on improving community resilience in the face of climate change through the conservation, restoration and rehabilitation of natural systems linked to river health within the Palmiet catchment.

The Palmiet Catchment, located in the City of Durban, KwaZulu- Natal, is under severe pressure from various sources of impacts that include the accumulation of domestic waste, raw sewage spill discharges, industrial effluents, severe infestation of alien vegetation along the river channel and stormwater engineering that has altered the hydrology of the system, and which is exacerbated by extreme rainfall events. Therefore, the PCRP serves to integrate engineering projects, finance, and mainstream biodiversity for water security, drawing these threats together to transform into a sustainable management catchment plan and as an example for other catchments in eThekwini and South Africa as a whole. The solutions to these impacts that cannot be drawn from a single knowledge base, which is why the PCRP is a multi-stakeholder project. It involves a wide range of community members from and around the Palmiet catchment, including: (private land owners, municipal officials and workers, schools, industries, students from UKZN and UNISA, private and commercial business owners and numerous other organisations).

GroundTruth and Duzi Umgeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) are overseeing the management of the PCRP. They have worked alongside on numerous projects, particularly through active engagement with community members in river health projects, education, and capacity building.

The PCRP has six key components. The primary focus of the Community-Based River Management component, which is the core component of the project, is capacity building of historically disadvantaged individuals in the field of water resource and environmental management, through skills training and the creation of sustainable job opportunities. Fifteen members from the informal settlement communities adjacent to the Palmiet River are currently undergoing the training to become Environmental Champions (‘Enviro- Champs’), this includes those from Quarry Road west, Ezinyosini, Dukezwe, Zamokuhle and Palmiet 3R.

During the course of the project the Enviro-Champs are exposed to, and trained in four Citizen Science tools, namely: miniSASS, the clarity tube, the velocity plank, and the Riparian Health Audit. GroundTruth team members alongside DUCT, have created a programme in which life skills, vocational training within water resource management and its programmes, basic communication and questionnaire development skills, basic plumbing skills, training in alien plants removal, river monitoring skills, solid waste cleaning and recycling plans, basic first aid and water safety, and other courses will be disseminated. Following their training, the Enviro-Champs will undertake environmental monitoring using the Citizen Science tools on a quarterly basis to contribute to long-term monitoring of river health in the Palmiet catchment. The Citizen Science tools effectively measure and assess water quality, they are simple to use, and yet they still provide accurate water quality data.

Latest Blog Posts

miniSASS Newsletter January 2020
Tue, 07 Jan 2020 12:33 by miniSASS Team

Please click below to download our latest newsletter MINISASS NEWSLETTER January 2020  

miniSASS Newsletter October 2018
Thu, 23 May 2019 12:25 by miniSASS Team

miniSASS Newletter October 2018

miniSass Newsletter September 2016
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 11:53 by miniSASS Team


Mandela Day – 18 July 2016
Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:47 by miniSASS Team


miniSASS Newsletter: National Water Week Edition
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:25 by miniSASS Team


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 […]

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

Unknown stream-Indaba lane

: The_Scout
: 1st Honeydew Scouts
: 14 Jul 2021
: 6.00

Madanzhe river -Maungani road s

: 18016216mukwevhoQueen
: University of venda
: 07 Jul 2021
: 6.75

Dzindi River-Dzindi upstream

: 19008853
: 07 Jul 2021
: 4.50

Madanzhe river-Maungn road sit

: 18016216mukwevhoQueen
: University of venda
: 07 Jul 2021
: 5.33

Tshibubuni -Mbilwi

: Ally
: 07 Jul 2021
: 4.50

Tshibubuni -Mbilwi

: Ally
: 07 Jul 2021
: 6.67

Madanzhe River-petrol gar site

: malatjiselby97
: University of Venda
: 07 Jul 2021
: 2.67

Madanzhe river-Upstream

: Nethengwe@24
: University of venda student
: 07 Jul 2021
: 3.25

© 2021 Water Research Commission. This is an open source project. Get the source code at Github

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