[Tagging] Drain vs ditch

Marc Gemis marc.gemis at gmail.com
Fri Jan 11 06:00:48 UTC 2019

On Fri, Jan 11, 2019 at 12:40 AM Eugene Podshivalov <yaugenka at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
> Can anyone please explain the difference between waterway=ditch and drain?
> As far as I understand the description on the English wiki they differ in usage:
> https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:waterway
> drain - usually lined with concrete or similar and used to carry superfluous water like storm water or industrial discharge
> ditch - used for irrigation

The wiki page you link to defines a ditch as "An small artificial free
flow waterway used for carrying superfluous water along paths or roads
for drainage purposes."
I do not see the word "irrigation" in that definition. It corresponds
more to what Graeme wrote

"I've always worked on "drain" looking more artificial eg lined with
concrete / rocks etc, while "ditch" is more-or-less only dirt, but
I've never been really very happy with the distinction?"

I was always under the impression that the ones I encounter between
farmland and meadows, which typically are surrounded by dirt, ground,
plants are ditches. That drains are constructed with concrete or
similar material and that there are normally no plants on the bedding
of the drain.
Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between ditch and stream,
because many streams were straightened along the borders of the


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