[Tagging] Drain vs ditch

ael law_ence.dev at ntlworld.com
Fri Jan 11 16:36:26 UTC 2019

On Fri, Jan 11, 2019 at 04:29:05PM +0100, Markus wrote:
> Hi!
> On Fri, 11 Jan 2019 at 00:40, Eugene Podshivalov <yaugenka at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > 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
> >
> > But the Russian wiki says that irrigation waterways should be tagged as drains.
> > https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/RU:Key:waterway
> I can't find any information – neither on the English wiki nor on the
> Russian translation – that either waterway=drain or waterway=ditch is
> used for irrigation. They are both used to tag stretches of waters
> carrying superfluous water, e.g. for drainage. As defined on the wiki,
> the difference between ditch and drain is that waterway=drain is lined
> with concrete or similar:

As a native speaker, I do not recognise "canal" as appropriate for
irrigation. That is not to say that some canals may also be used
partly for irrigation.

But the phrase "irrigation ditch" is common and understood.  Bear in
mind that the UK is mainly a fairly wet place, so the need for
substantial irrigation is not high except in some special cases.  The
unqualified word "ditch" would normally be understood as an artificial
unlined and usually small watercourse. But also, in certain contexts,
for a historic trench acting as a defense or fence, not necessarily
containing water.

That seems to accord with a the sub tag irrigation=yes on ditches -
and maybe on other waterways if that is one of the uses/functions.


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