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Public-images-osm logo.svg waterway
Nau im Langenauer Ried 600x450.jpg
The waterway tag is used to mark rivers or other kind of waterways.
Group: Waterway
Used on these elements
may be used on nodes
may be used on ways
should not be used on areas
use on relations unspecified
Documented values: 89
Status: Unspecified


See also: waterways, Relation:waterway

The waterway key is used to describe rivers, streams and boat-yards. Some 'water' related features use other tags, including

Or with the new tagging: natural=water + water=reservoir

By convention the direction of the way should be downstream (ie draw the way in the direction that the water flows), when known.

If water is seasonal, use the tag intermittent=yes


Key Value Element Comment Rendering Photo

Natural watercourses

waterway river Way For narrow rivers which will be rendered as a line. For larger rivers (defined as more than 12 m across) see waterway=riverbank (Other languages).
Nau im Langenauer Ried 600x450.jpg
waterway riverbank Area Used for larger rivers, to define an area between the opposite riverbanks. See water=river for alternative tagging.
waterway stream Way A naturally-formed waterway that is too thin to be classed as a river. An active, able-bodied person should be able to jump over it if trees along it aren't too thick.
waterway wadi Way A natural, dry (ephemeral) riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream, in semi-arid areas. Also known as a "Wash" in the deserts of America.

Man made waterways

waterway canal Way An artificial open waterway used for transportation, waterpower, or irrigation.(Other languages).
Grand Union Canal.jpg
waterway drain Way An artificial waterway for carrying storm water or industrial discharge.
Example Drain.jpg
waterway ditch Way A small to moderate depression created to channel water.
Forest ditch.JPG


waterway dock Node Area An 'enclosed' area of water used for building or repairing ships.
waterway boatyard NodeArea Boat yard – a place for constructing, repairing and storing vessels out of the water.
Boatyards, Rhyll.jpg

Barriers on waterways

waterway dam Way Area A wall built across a river or stream to impound the water. A dam normally does not have water flowing over the top of it.
Amagase Dam.jpg
waterway weir Node Way A barrier built across a river, sometimes to divert water for industrial purposes. Water can still flow over the top.
Alifakovac Miljacka.jpg
waterway waterfall Node A waterfall
Waterfall near Keldur.JPG
waterway lock_gate Node To mark the position of gates at each end of a lock. Alternatively, for smaller locks use a single lock=yes node in the middle of the lock.

Other features on waterways

waterway turning_point Node A place to turn the driving direction for vessels, where the boats are longer than the river/canal is wide. Use maxlength=* to denote the maximum length of the vessel.
waterway water_point Node This tag is for ports/marinas where you can get large amounts of potable water.

Some additional attributes for waterways

intermittent yes Way Indicates that the waterway does not have a permanent flow (i.e. is sometimes/often dry).
lock yes Way (Node) A lock is used for moving boats between waterways at two different levels. Can tag either the section of the way between the gates (detailed) or just a single node in the waterway (less detailed).
mooring yes, private, no Way A length of bank where boats are explicitly permitted to moor. maxstay=* should be used for timing information.
Lamanage La Rochelle.jpg
service transportation, water_power, irrigation Way A waterway=canal may have one (or more; separate with semicolons) uses.
tunnel culvert Way (Node) For a stream passing under a road use tunnel=culvert on the section of stream passing under the road (don't use this tag for open-top culverts or roads using the culvert structure as a bridge (bridge=culvert)).
waterway user defined Node Way All commonly used values according to Taginfo

This table is a wiki template with a default description in English. Editable here.