Groundwater studies in several African countries show that the contamination of water-supply aquifers is mainly due to improper placement of land-based activities such as agriculture, industries, waste disposal. In South Africa, groundwater pollution is also of increasing concern due to fast population growth and accompanying development. Groundwater protection zoning is a supplemental methodology for groundwater management that incorporates land use planning. The land is managed to minimize the potential of groundwater contamination by human activities that occur on or below the land surface. The various benefits associated with implementation of protection zoning are discussed for stakeholders such as communities, water supply companies, ecosystems and policy makers. A South African case study is presented comparing the cost of protection with the cost incurred due to the treatment of sick and dying people due to contaminated drinking water. These benefits must be communicated to the stakeholders to start the implementation at all management levels. Implementation steps of groundwater protection zones are discussed and can be tested even with low budgets and little data available. Monitoring and reassessment of protection zones are important to test the effectiveness and prove to decision makers that the money was well spent. The legal framework for implementation of groundwater protection zoning in a South African context is described, where the water law makes provision for tools like differentiated protection, licensing and recovery of cost. Challenges regarding implementation of groundwater protection are discussed with some action steps on how to move forward.