About one quarter of New Yorkers rely on groundwater as a source of potable water. In order to enhance regulatory protection in areas where groundwater resources are most productive and most vulnerable, the Department of Health, in 1980, identified eighteen Primary Water Supply Aquifers (also referred to simply as Primary Aquifers) across the state. These are defined as “highly productive aquifers presently utilized as sources of water supply by major municipal water supply systems”. Other important aquifers are called “Principal Aquifers”.
The Finger Lakes region as a whole is not classifed as either a Primary or Principal Aquifer. This means that the DEC will permit unrestricted HVHF in in most of the region – take a look at the maps of New York aquifers shown below.