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Public-images-osm logo.svg landuse = reservoir
An artificial lake which may be used to store water. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Base layer water.png
Group: landuse
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesshould not be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations (except multipolygon relations)
Useful combination
See also
Status: deprecatedPage for proposal

exclamation mark

This feature has been labeled as deprecated. The recommended replacement is: natural=water+water=reservoir.
The reason is documented in Deprecated features. You are still free to continue to use or interpret this tag as you see fit since OpenStreetMap does not have “banned features”.
Under no circumstances should you (semi-)automatically change “deprecated” tags to something else in the database on a large scale without conforming to the automated edits code of conduct. Any such change will be reverted.

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