The objectives of this project are:
- To provide an educational opportunity for high schools in the Molweni River catchment area to learn about the importance of our water resources in a practical, fun and innovative way.
- To provide an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of our water resources to all the communities and public living in the catchment area through the publicising of the project, the results and possible resultant actions.
- To provide an opportunity for communities from different areas in the Molweni Catchment area to interact and to appreciate that environmental issues have no boundaries.
- To provide an opportunity to highlight any problems identified and to raise these with the relevant authorities if remediation is necessary.
How it Works
Eight High Schools in the Molweni River Catchment area do a bi-annual sampling of the Molweni River and some of its tributaries to assess the quality of the river water. The sampling will be done in February and August each year.
Each school selects 5 learners to represent the school on each testing occasion.
The Testing Team, accompanied by a teacher and a School Co-ordinator and a Technical Specialist use the miniSASS system to assess the health of the rivers/streams. Each team complete a miniSASS score at the sampling point.
At the same time, a water sample from each sampling point is collected and subected to laboratory testing for parameters not measured by the miniSASS system
Once each team has completed the miniSASS score for their sampling point they transfer to the Krantzkloof Conference Centre where all the results are compared.
Winner of the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Biodiversity Category, 2014!
This award recognised the effort put in by the entire team, which includes representatives of Kloof Conservancy; scientists from GCS Environmental Consultants; consultants from Royal HaskoningDHV; representatives of the eThekwini Municipality departments of Water and Sanitation, Natural Resources, and Coastal Stormwater and Catchment Management; Durban Solid Waste; Umgeni Water; the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs; Krantzkloof Honorary Officers; Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife; and sponsorship by Waterfall Superspar.
- Curro High School – Hillcrest
- Hillcrest High School – Hillcrest
- Kloof High School – Kloof
- Kwabazothini High School – Inanda Dam
- Kwadinabakubu High School – Upper Molweni Valley
- Tholulwazi High School – Lower Molweni Valley
- Thomas More College – Kloof
- Wybank High School – Wyebank
Over the years a number of organisations have provided support and currently following organisations are involved in providing logistical and technical support to the project
- GCS Water and Environmental Consultants
- Community Insights Group
- KZN Department of Water and Environmental Affairs
- eThekwini Municipality
- Water and Sanitation Departement
- Durban Solid Waste
- Natural Resources Department
- Umgeni Water
- Groundtruth Wetlands and Environmental Engineering
- Krantzkloof Honorary Officers
Developed by Umgeni Water and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, miniSASS is a simplified form of the South African Scoring System, which allows communities and individuals to measure and monitor the health and general water quality of their rivers. The tool is based on the logic that river-dwelling invertebrates are primary indicators of water quality and river health. Assessments are made by determining the composition of invertebrates living in rivers and using an invertebrate sensitivity index to ‘score’ the river.
The tool does not incorporate the measuring of bacterial or viral contamination, so it is unable to determine if water is potable or not.
miniSASS is supported by WESSA and is a component of their eco-schools programme. The miniSASS initiative has evolved to include educational tools for high school students. It promises to be very beneficial to all students in the life sciences.
South Africa is a water scarce country and our water resources are coming under increase pressure from human development. Not only do we have very little water but what we have is becoming increasingly polluted and unless we start addressing these issues in a holistic manner we will be in serious danger of not having sufficient quality water for our needs.
This project aims to educate our future generations on the challenges facing our water resources and will hopefully go someway to empowering them and start to improve the general public’s attitude towards these scarce resources.
Visit the Duzi Umgeni Conservation Trust website for more information on the challenges facing our very own water supply in the eThekwini Municipality.
Video on how the project works
The 2020 Winter testing scheduled for August 2020 was disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic which meant that the learners were unable to do the testing.
In order to maintain continuity the data was collected by the Technical Teams who also produced a video to explain how the project works.
You can view the video on YouTube by clicking HERE
The data from this project is being loaded into the National internet based data collection website: http://minisass.org/en/map/