Potential water supply aquifers in many countries are composed of crystalline rocks. In Calabria, southern Italy, crystalline aquifers are tapped by low-yield wells. However, the long-term effects are not well known. The objective was to determine whether the groundwater development of the Serre Massif is ‘sustainable’ or not. Results are similar to those obtained for crystalline rocks in the Mediterranean region elsewhere. Climate, granitoid covers and topography influence the amount of aquifer recharge. Hydrostratigraphy reveals a shallow weathered layer above a fractured layer that could be treated as a porous-equivalent. A groundwater model simulates the effects of pumping under different scenarios. Sustainable management could be achieved in the following ways: an intermittent and/or alternated use of more wells; a constant, continuous pumping rate assuming prescribed limits of drawdown; and the use of horizontal boreholes or radial collector wells. This last solution appeared more efficient for long time frames.