Schenectady first tapped the aquifer as a water source in 1897. Today, Scotia, Glenville, Rotterdam and Niskayuna also draw their main water supplies from the aquifer, a total of 24 million gallons per day. The Department of Health estimates as much as 65 million gallons could be safely withdrawn.
The Great Flats Aquifer is a large deposit of water-saturated sand and gravel that was deposited as glaciers receded around 10,000 years ago. A large lake some researchers have compared to Lake Ontario drained into those sands.