|The waterway tag is used to mark rivers or other kind of waterways.|
|Used on these elements|
|Documented values: 41|
|Status: de facto|
|Tools for this tag|
The waterway key is used to describe rivers, streams and boat-yards with a flow of water from one place to another.
By definition, a waterway is assumed to have a direction of flow. The direction of the way should be downstream (from the waterway's source to its mouth).
For small waterways, a way indicating a direction of flow and its path is sufficient. When a waterway becomes wide enough that mapping the area it flows through is desired.
If a waterway way is known to not have water flow year round, it should always be tagged with intermittent=yes. (Non-permanent flow can be further described with the seasonal=* tag to describe when a flow of water exists, but intermittent=yes should still be present in these cases.)
If a waterway is named from its source to its destination, it's strongly suggested that all of its ways be placed in a waterway relation. Doing this allows Nominatim to group the ways together and return exactly one named result per named waterway that exists in OpenStreetMap.
The main waterway=* values are distinguished according to the flowing regime as follow:
|Free flow||Pipe flow|
|Man made||Open air||Culvert||Tunnel||Pipeline|
|canal (useful water)||pressurised|
|drain (superflous water)|
The only questions to ask to get the difference between Free flow and Pipe flow is Does water flow inside a closed space and can air get inside the conduit? If yes, the water can't be pipe flow and you'll have to choose for an according waterway=* value from the table.
Even if waterway=* values can be refined or replaced, it would be really nice to preserve the distinction between free/open channel and pipe flow features. It's really important data for water management and resource planning.
|waterway||river||For narrow rivers which will be rendered as a line. For larger rivers see also waterway=riverbank (Other languages).|
|waterway||riverbank||Used for larger rivers in addition to waterway=river, to define an area between the opposite riverbanks. Also see water=river with natural=water.|
|waterway||stream||A naturally-formed waterway that is too narrow to be classed as a river. An active, able-bodied person should be able to jump over it.|
|waterway||tidal_channel||A natural tidal waterway within the coastal marine environment with bi-directional flow of salty water which depends on the tides.|
|waterway||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.
It has been recommended to stop using this tag. For intermittent waterways use waterway=river/waterway=stream + intermittent=yes. For valleys natural=valley.
|waterway||Dry stream bed - negative forms of erosion relief formed by the activity of temporary streams.
Don't use this tag. For intermittent waterways use waterway=stream + intermittent=yes. For valleys use natural=valley.
Man made waterways
|waterway||canal||An artificial open flow waterway used to carry useful water for transportation, waterpower, or irrigation. (Other languages).|
|waterway||pressurised||A waterway where water is flowing in a fully enclosed conduit and subject to pressure; this includes gravity-driven penstocks and siphons and pump-driven pipelines, for example.|
|waterway||drain||An artificial free flow waterway used for carrying superfluous water like storm water or industrial discharge, usually lined with concrete, stones or similar.|
|waterway||ditch||An small artificial free flow waterway used for carrying superfluous water for drainage purposes, usually unlined.|
|waterway||fairway||A navigable route in a lake or sea marked by buoys. The navigable area marked by the buoys can be mapped with seamark:type=fairway.|
|waterway||fish_pass||A fish pass, also known as a fish ladder, a fishway or fish steps, is a structure on or around artificial barriers (such as dams and locks) to facilitate diadromous fishes natural migration.|
|waterway||dock||An 'enclosed' area of water used for building or repairing ships.|
|waterway||boatyard||Boat yard – a place for constructing, repairing and storing vessels out of the water.|
Barriers on waterways
|waterway||dam||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.|
|waterway||weir||A barrier built across a river to control speed and depth. Water can still flow over the top.|
|waterway||waterfall||A waterfall, use in combination with natural=cliff|
|waterway||rapids||A natural barrier, formed by a fast-flowing, often turbulent, section of the watercourse.|
|waterway||lock_gate||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||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||A place to fill fresh water holding tanks of a boat.|
|waterway||fuel||A place to get fuel for boats.|
Some additional attributes for waterways
|intermittent||yes||Indicates that the waterway is sometimes dry and sometimes contains water.|
|seasonal||yes, spring, summer, autumn, winter, wet_season, dry_season||Indicates that a waterway has a seasonal (yearly cyclic) flow, usually flowing continuously for at least some part of the year.|
|destination||name||Name of the body of water the linear feature flows into.|
|lock||yes||()||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||A length of bank where boats are explicitly permitted to moor. maxstay=* should be used for timing information.|
|usage||transmission, irrigation, headrace, tailrace, penstock||A waterway=canal may have one (or more; separate with semicolons) uses.|
|tunnel||culvert||()||A short tunnel usually installed under roads, railways or building. Its size doesn't allow human to get inside and is as narrow as the structure is supposed to go under. For streams passing under a road in culverts use tunnel=culvert+layer=-1 on the section of stream passing under the road. Don't use either of these tags for streams passing under bridges.|
|tunnel||flooded||A long (> 100 m) tunnel where flowing water or other fluid prevent humans from safely walking inside despite its appropriate diameter or size. Water inside can be pressurised or not, used in combination with any waterway=* linear value. waterway=*.|
|bridge||aqueduct||A bridge which conveys an artificial waterway over a road, valley, or another waterway.|
|waterway||user defined||All commonly used values according to Taginfo|
Possible tagging mistakes
See man-made waterways above for better alternatives.