Talk:Proposed features/water well

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Q. Why not have a more generic form which covers bore holes and other places where water can be obtained such as unlined holes in the ground, in addition to wells.

  • A. This is a good point, and I did think about it prior to the proposal. One reason was that I thought water wells were actually quite a specific feature, and as discussed on the proposal page cover more than one use. Partly I couldn't think of a nice tagging structure.

If you insist on using something logically parallel to amenity=drinking_water, quality value = drinkable|not_drinkable is a lot too verbose IMO. I'd recommend to use the shortest still unmistakable wording, i.e.: drinking_water=yes or even drinkable=yes. --Hasienda 20:28, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

  • The tag amenity=drinking_water as described specifically refers to drinking water, and as such would preclude it's use on a large number of water wells throughout the world where the water is not suitable for drinking without some form of purification. However I accept your point on the verbose tagging, and have amended the proposal. Dmgroom 13:33, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

I'm just asking myself how (and if) the deep wells of water works would fit into that feature. The description seems to refer more to somewhat smaller wells where you can fetch water directly. But quite a lot of our drinking water comes from this kind of wells, and currently there is no good tag for them. Markobr 23:38, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

I think this is a very useful tag. I have been working in very rural areas in Nicaragua. Water wells, are not only communal meeting places but landmarks. Defining the valleys wells would give me the base to which I can then make a water level study of the underlying aquifer. However Water is such a big subject and is of equal if not more importance than Map_Features:Power tags that we know. Instead of amenities we should have water as a top level. If we think of water the same way we think of power then we will have a solid framework to build on like power stations to substations to streetlights we can have a source to delivery structure.

This would allow

--Central America 10:22, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

  • I support the idea of a "water" tag to group all kinds of facilities for water supply and probably also wastewater disposal. Right now, the appropriate tags - if they exist at all - are mostly in the rather stupid category "man_made" (pipeline, reservoir_covered, wastewater_plant, water_tower, water_works), but some in "amenity" (drinking_water, waste_disposal), "landuse" (reservoir) and even "natural" (spring - there is no tag for a tapped spring). A "water" tag would faciliate the development of a sensible structure. Markobr 09:17, 29 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I have started to map the springs and wells of Malvern [1]. The one I have added I had added as amenity:drinking_water, but not all the springs are now known to be drinking water. Another as been added (not by me) as amenity:waterspout. So I would support the idea of a water attribute. Iccaldwell 19:11, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
  • I support the idea of a "water" tag, too. The water infrastructure affects our life a lot. The big egg-like towers of the waste-water-plants e.g. are landmarks.--Warlock74 20:40, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

The wiki contain a page for man_made=water_well... Do this proposal still open or does it became an "official" tag ? The two pages are not needed. --Pierre-Alain Dorange 12:07, 28th june 2010


We are working in West Africa. So again, water is extremely important. Households here go "to the well" several times per day. How often does a household in Europe go "to the letterbox"? So we all agree that wells need to be marked on our maps.

Here in West Africa we have two main types of water provided: An open well (what I personally call a well) with either some facility for drawing water provided, or otherwise people bring their own ropes and buckets. No need to graphically show the differences, because the users know their wells. Travellers hardly need the wells because there is other infrastructure for travellers.

The second main type of water we call "pump". It is most often a bore hole with a pipe down - all sealed up. All you see and use is a pump above the surface. This is the more modern type; the old open wells are hardly built any more (except by private households). Here we have basically two sub-types: Hand-powered and foot-powered (yes, much more efficient, you literally step on it, you can use your leg muscels, which are stronger than your arms).

I do not claim a separate icon for pumps or wells, but here in Africa it does make sense at least to note the distinction. Water is important and it involves a lot of money and a lot of development efforts. So having detailed data of existing water infrastructure (our mapping) would provide a valuable contribution for certain development agencies or activities/planning.

A word of warning about water quality. Here in Africa I guess a lot of the mapping is still done by foreigners, often visitors of some sort or development personal, diplomats etc. But who does have the responsibility for such important information as the drinkability of public water? It can change. If you mark it is drinkable, will you be around and update it, once the water becomes undrinkable.

For our context we must assume that technically all water needs to be treated before consumption. That is what the authorities also officially propose. In practise not many people do. So mappers (often lay people for matters of health or water purity) should be very careful when the label a "well" as drinkable, this has far reaching implications and responsibilities.

So I agree with Markobr and I like the detailed ideas of Central America about a way of tagging, and I would like to add to his/her list:


I will need to read up how to vote, this is somewhat urgent for our part of Africa. I am still a newby, so how does this get voted? Where do I need to tick? I read in the instructions for new proposals that the relevance to people and the actual number of occurrences in the world are important considerations. Well, (pun intended) in our area there are now several wells or pumps in every village. Often their location is not very obvious because they get built where the water is; not automatically in the center of a community. So in the area I am mapping I guess there are almost one hundred wells and pumps to be marked! (20-30 villages)

--Webtooslow 16:19, 20 February 2011 (UTC)

Relation to drinking_water=yes

Q: Should a water well also be drinking_water=yes or drinking_water=no? From the point of view of finding water to drink, the well is just a refinement. Brycenesbitt (talk)


Yes you could of course, but not all water_well are refinement of drinking water, lot of well are not accessible for drinking : they also are "plug" to a water network with a pump. --Padorange (talk) 06:10, 27 June 2013 (UTC)