Proposal:Free drinking water by private entities

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Proposal status: Proposed (under way)
Proposed by: bkil
Tagging: drinking_water=ask
Applies to: all
Definition: Free drinks at non-conventional places

RFC start: 2018-09-19


I'd like to discuss three related proposals and a separate one that can be confused with the others. In all the below cases, the availability is tied to the opening_hours of the containing POI.

Four separate proposals could have been created, but I feel that the concepts and words describing these are so close, it is best to have a good overview.

One proposal has already been split:

Free water for customers only


If you are a customer who has purchased a meal for example, you may either ask for free drinking water with your purchase. Alternatively, you may take an empty glass and bottles or jugs of water are provided on the tables where you consume your meal. This can be seen at many amenity=fast_food facilities.

This is mandated by law in certain countries. For example, it was in effect in Hungary between 1998-2009. In such cases, we should document this practice by country in a table instead of adding millions of default values.


It would be best if we could add a single, simple tag to convey this meaning.

Public can ask staff to either fetch some water or fill a container for them for free


If you ask staff (usually the cashier) and hand over your container, they fill it with drinking water for free. Some may be nice enough to serve some in a glass if you forgot to bring your container. Only those POI should be tagged that have a declared policy to support such practice without limitation. Some may post a sign to this effect or mention it on their website.

Many offices, bars, pubs and shops are eager to join such a movement to both reduce waste and tempt more people on premise at the same time.

See also:

A potential reason to separate the case when you need to ask for free water vs. just taking it yourself is a tourist who does not speak the local language. She could definitely use an unattended water tap either inside or outside the pub, but may have trouble describing to the staff that she wants water but only the free, non-mineral, non-carbonated variant so it will be free. They could mix up the intention with the owncup=* campaign where you get a discount when using your own cup/container for your orders. I imagine pubs would gladly refill with premium content "by accident" in many such cases, or at least I know countries where this would be commonplace.


Free water tap/fountain/vending machine indoors to be used by the public


Free drinking water source available at an amenity for the public unconditionally. It may be operated and sponsored by either the given amenity, or the local water plant, as seen with wikipedia:Refill_(scheme).

If the source was not within the boundaries of the amenity and would not be constrained by its opening_hours limitations, it could have been tagged with a normal amenity=drinking_water. During indoor mapping, it is ambiguous whether entities residing inside the area of an amenity are understood as belonging to the said amenity and are access=private/customers or are public.

If micromapping is desired, a separate node could be added with various attributes: man_made=water_tap, man_made=vending_machine, man_made=dispensing, drinking_water:features=filtered;carbonated;heated;chilled.


If mapped as a separate node, also add: indoor=yes

Free beverages for customers

Various restaurants offer buffet lunch bundles (lunch=buffet) in which for a fixed bundle price, you may taste as many kinds of meals as you wish. Some, but not all of these restaurants offer unconstrained drink consumption with the meal as well. Some offer unconstrained drink consumption with only certain (more expensive) bundles.

Sometimes only a subset of drinks is available for free, for example spirits may be purchased separately while beer is free. Maybe such micromapping is irrelevant, though.


Overall discussion

See also