Well is a shaft into ground for obtaining water (or something else like mineral oil) from an underground source, usually lined with bricks or stones.
A "well" in the US can be an installation where groundwater is extracted for the public water supply. There is normally a small building to house the equipment. They are typically marked on maps "town well". They are often in undeveloped open space (to preserve water quality) They have service roads for access.
For fire brigades the tag "man_made=well-water" is an important icon. Usually it defines the location to fetch water from underground while fighting against forest fires. There are different types of wells used for this purpose:
1) Wells where the fire brigades needs to put their own suction pipe into, 2) and other where just the suction pump needs to be connected to.
Type 1) wells are also used by farmers to water their plants.
For the icon this different types needs not to be differentiated as fire brigades usually comes full equipped able to access both types. A possible icon should be similar as used by fire brigades.
Well should not be used for for the beginning of streams. A tag "waterway=spring" would be better choice for this (see Spring)
- If we are going to use "well" then we need to broaden the definition to include manmade wells (e.g. built of stone) where water emerges from the ground without a manmade shaft but not necessarily being the beginning of a significant stream. These are common in Europe as a former - and sometimes still current in very rural areas - source of drinking water. They are called wells and usually mapped as such. Mikh43 13:11, 12 April 2010 (UTC)