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Public-images-osm logo.svg waterway = ditch
A small artificial drainage waterway, usually unlined. Show/edit corresponding data item.
Rendering in OSM Carto
Group: waterways
Used on these elements
should not be used on nodesmay be used on waysshould not be used on areasmay be used on relations
Useful combination
See also
Status: de facto

Use waterway=ditch for simple narrow artificial waterways, mapped as way, used to drain nearby land, to remove storm-water or similar. Ditches are usually straight (as opposed to natural streams). Unlike a drain, they are not lined with concrete or other hard materials. They are often found along roads or on the edges of agricultural fields.

They may contain little water or even be dry most of the year – to mark this intermittent=yes may be used.

For artificial drainage waterways lined with concrete or similar, see waterway=drain. For large artificial waterways used for navigation or for transporting useful water, see waterway=canal. For ditches mapped as area see natural=water + water=ditch.

How to map

See also: Waterways

Create a simple linear way, in the direction of flow if this is clear, and add waterway=ditch.

  • Consider adding width=* to indicate the width in metres, for example width=1.5.
  • If the ditch contains water only part of the time, the tag intermittent=yes may be used.
  • When the ditch passes under a highway or other features in a short tunnel, add tunnel=culvert and layer=-1 for the underground section.
  • Some mappers have used this tag for small, unlined waterways used for irrigation, along with the proposed tag irrigation=yes. However, this usage contradicts the original definition of waterway=ditch as a waterway used to remove excess water. Alternatively, irrigation ditches can be mapped as waterway=canal + usage=irrigation + width=*

Similar tags

  • waterway=drain: for larger artificial waterways used for the drainage purposes, and typically lined with concrete or similar
  • barrier=ditch: for dry ditches used to prevent access to the other side
  • waterway=stream: for natural minor waterways
  • waterway=canal: for artificial waterways created for carrying useful water or for transport


See also

Possible tagging mistakes

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