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Public-images-osm logo.svg man_made = drinking_fountain
Provides a small jet of drinking water. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Group: Man made
Used on these elements
may be used on nodesshould not be used on waysshould not be used on areasshould not be used on relations
Status: in use

A  drinking fountain or bubbler is a man-made device providing a small jet of water for drinking. Usually supplied by centralized water distribution and (often) equipped with a user-accessible valve. Drinking fountains provide potable water.
The construction and operation of the  drinking fountain is significantly different from the larger decorative  fountain.


This tag has unclear meaning in OSM community, as documented in this poll conducted in October 2022 (as well as related tagging mailing list thread and deprecation attempt). According to those, there seem to be (at least) three major understandings of the term "drinking fountain" and meaning of this tag specifically:

  • one fraction seems to understand and map any man-made (so excluding e.g. natural=spring) generic source of drinking water (i.e. amenity=drinking_water) regardless if water initially leaves the pipes directly upwards, upwards at angle, horizontally, downwards at an angle, or straight downwards, and regardless of water flow control mechanisms (if any).
  • another fractions seems to also use it for mapping generic man-made sources of drinking water, but only if they are not controlled by volume-control faucets (in which case they would map it with man_made=water_tap instead), but they also accept it to be drinking fountain regardless if water initially leaves the pipes directly upwards, upwards at angle, horizontally, downwards at an angle, or straight downwards.
  • yet another fraction insists that water must be leaving the pipes exclusively in direct upward or angled upward direction, arguing that if it leaves the pipes in any other direction it is not man_made=drinking_fountain.

(there also seem to be other smaller sub-fractions which disagree if water may / must not / must be continuously running for it to be considered man_made=drinking_fountain, or if it must be open by a valve, and which mechanisms for opening a valve are acceptable, does the valve has to close automatically, how easy it must be to drink water directly from it, etc.)

How to map

There seem to be a clear need to especially distinguish following sources of drinking water:

  • drinking fountains in which a flow of water is directed directly upwards, or upwards at an angle (regardless if the flow is continuous, or actived by user): This is best mapped with amenity=drinking_water + fountain=bubbler (as that tag was unambiguously defined from the start to mean exactly that).

If you prefer to use (less popular) tag man_made=drinking_fountain instead, it should be used on nodes node at the location of the drinking fountain.

Add man_made=drinking_fountain, and, if it is actually a source of drinking water, amenity=drinking_water. Usually you should add both tags.

If there is a tap co-located (extremely rare) then use man_made=water_tap + drinking_fountain=yes.

A drinking fountain is assumed potable (i.e. drinking_water=yes is implied).

Supplementary tags

  • fountain=* to specify exact drinking fountain type
  • operator=* The operator of the drinking fountain.
  • name=* The name of the drinking fountain if it has.
  • handle=* to specify exact handle to control water flow

Tags describing the water quality are usually not required as it is usually safe (potable). Only tag cases where there is some indication that the water is unsafe, the OSM default assumes that it is safe.

Similar and alternative tags

Please note that the tag amenity=drinking_water was the first tag describing access to potable water. It is used for a variety of features where you can get drinking water and it is by far the most used tag and although alone it doesn’t describe the feature that provides the water, it seems to be sufficient for most people. It may be useful to use additionally a more specific tag such as man_made=water_tap, man_made=water_well, fountain=*.


Example Photos

Drinking fountains: types where jet of water goes horizontal or downwards; a jet of water is continually running.

Drinking fountains: types where a jet of water is thrown upwards straight into the mouth; a jet of water is controlled by a button.

Drinking fountains: combined for human and animals.

See also

  • fountain=bottle_refill / bottle=* - Indicates whether it is specifically made for water bottle refill only / if a water bottle can easily be filled.