RCE KwaZulu Natal-2013

1. Name of RCE : 
2. Continent: 
Africa and Middle East
3. Country: 
South Africa
4.RCE Contact Details
Main RCE Contact: 
Dr. Jim Taylor
Secondary RCE Contact: 
Mr. Tichaona Pesanayi
General RCE Email: 
5. Project Title: 
River health monitoring: public mobilisation using the miniSASS community river health monitoring tool
6. Thematic area/s addressed by the project
Climate change
Disaster Risk Reduction
Higher Education
Inclusive development and learning
Sustainable consumption and learning
Teacher Education
Traditional Knowledge
Other (please clarify): 
Support for government departments seeking to manage water resources – such as Dept of Water Affairs)
7.Project Partner Contact Information Provide information about the main contacts for the project. : 
Development partner – public mobilization (Director EE)
Main Contact: 
Dr. Jim Taylor (Director EE) jt@wessa.co.za
2. Ground-Truth
Development Partner – Research and Development (R&D)
Main Contact: 
Dr. Mark Graham (Director) mark@groundtruth.co.za
8. Project type
Capacity Development
Community Engagement
Material Development
Policy Engagement
Research and Development
Other (please clarify): 
Support for government departments and policy development.
9. Project Description Provide a short description of the project including regional challenges it addresses, its aims as well as project activities/strategies Allow text field (character count 500 words): 
Two partners of the KwaZulu-Natal RCE are collaborating to develop and implement the Stream Assessment Scoring System (miniSASS. GroundTruth, in partnership with WESSA, and through seed funding from the Water Research Commission, have developed the new miniSASS website and database, which has now gone live. The website provides a dedicated home for the miniSASS community river health biomonitoring tool, to promote its use and to serve the miniSASS user community by providing a central hub for river health data, supporting materials, instruction, and news of the latest activities that have taken place.

The most important feature of the new website is the interactive Google Earth map and database, which allows miniSASS users of all ages to explore their catchment, find their river and then upload their miniSASS results. In this way public-access is contributing to an interactive map of river health across Southern Africa. The results are continuously contributed by users as innovative citizen science activites. Users can explore all results, compare and contrast river health across catchments and in relation to land use activities, while connecting with others who are sampling rivers in their community.

Reasons for the changes in river health over space and time can be explored based on the land uses and other activities that can be observed on the interactive Google Earth/satellite maps, supplemented by local knowledge. Communities can use the information and knowledge to illustrate the condition of their rivers, and investigate pollution sources. Land users such as farmers or industries can monitor and self-regulate the impact of their activities on the surrounding river environment. The more data the better, as communities and even authorities can explore and even influence, through research based responsive action river pollution trends.

The miniSASS system enables the documentation and mapping of changes and potential pollution sources and solutions. Pollution hot spot areas are identified as the miniSASS results provide a “red” flag indicator on river health conditions. What makes the project innovative is the fact that the data-base is in the public domain and visible, at all times to all users. This probably makes the miniSASS the first global project to apply biomonitoring through a Google Earth platform!

Healthy rivers mean healthy people!
10. Project Status
11.Provide references and reference materials (possibility to upload additional documents (up to 8mb): 
12. Duration of the Project Start Date: End date:: 
Tuesday, October 1, 2013 to Friday, November 8, 2013
Africa and Middle East