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Public-images-osm logo.svg landuse = reservoir
An artificial lake which may be used to store water. Edit or translate this description.
Rendering in openstreetmap-carto
Base layer water.png
Group: Landuse
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysmay be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Useful combination
See also
Status: in use


Man made body of stored water. May be covered or uncovered. Usually formed by a dam over a natural water course, water then backs up into a natural valley or depression.

It is also possible to tag the water body with natural=water + water=reservoir in addition or instead of landuse=reservoir. See also the approved water details proposal and pointers to discussion on talk page.

Currently most renderers will interpret and draw landuse=reservoir as a visible open water area.

How to tag

Begin by placing a node or a closed way on the map, and tagging it with

Tag Description
landuse=reservoir A man-made body of stored water.

It sometimes makes sense to add the following tags:

Tag Description
name=* The name of the reservoir, if known.
covered=yes/no Whether the reservoir is covered[1], typically buried underground.
intermittent=yes If the water is only seasonally or intermittently present.
natural=water + water=reservoir Can be added if the reservoir is also a body of open water.
reservoir_type=* Describes the purpose of the reservoir.



  • water details proposal was approved and provides the alternative tagging natural=water + water=reservoir.
    • Main advantage of a new tagging scheme is that all water (except oceans) can be queried with natural=water tag, which simplifies using OpenStreetMap data in some cases.
      • Note that synonyms are a minor problem while using OpenStreetMap data and, while irritating, are not a major barrier
      • This benefit will happen only after the alternative tagging is gone: as long as many reservoirs are tagged as landuse=reservoir without natural=water, data consumers must support also landuse=reservoir anyway.
      • If someone wants to select only some specific types of water areas or have different rendering depending on a type of water area, this benefit completely disappears.
    • First disadvantage is that this change requires changing tagging behaviour from mappers, rewriting software, documentation, training materials etc.
    • Second disadvantage of water=reservoir is that is discourages people to understand different classes of water and therefore is a problem when learning cartography
    • Third disadvantage of water=reservoir is that it added a duplicate schema which maps exactly the same classes of water object classes
    • Note that the proposal included a very confusing section. It was titled "deprecation" and had "landuse=reservoir (replaced by natural=water + water=reservoir)" but also included text which made it unclear:
      • Redefined deprecated: ""Deprecates" means "is equivalent for all purposes to""
      • "we don't want massive retagging and edit wars."

Tag for land used as reservoir

  • In mailing list discussions some mappers have asked for a tagging scheme covering areas and objects related to water reservoirs. Although it might seem logical to use landuse=reservoir for such purpose this would conflict with the current widely used definitions and another tagging scheme should be proposed instead. For restricted land around a reservoir, consider the use of landuse=reservoir_watershed.

See also

External links


  1. Example: Stroud Green (covered reservoir) on Wikimedia Commons