Water is an important resource, and it is a worldwide struggle to provide water of good quality to the whole population. Despite good governing laws and guidelines set in place to help protect the water resources and ensure it is of good quality for various consumers, the water quality in South Africa is worsening due to lack of management. The deteriorating infrastructure is becoming progressively worse, due to corruption and insufficient funds. The ever-increasing number of toxicants, as well as the identification of emerging chemicals of concern, are also challenges South Africa is facing. Chemical analysis cannot determine the total biological effect of a mixture of chemical compounds, but this shortcoming can be addressed by adding effect-based methods (EBMs) to water quality monitoring programmes. In this paper, the current status of water quality monitoring in South Africa is discussed, as well as the capacity of the country to add EBMs to its water quality monitoring programmes to protect and improve human and animal life.