[Tagging] Drain vs ditch

ael law_ence.dev at ntlworld.com
Fri Jan 11 20:44:21 UTC 2019

On Fri, Jan 11, 2019 at 09:01:47PM +0100, Fran├žois Lacombe wrote:
> Currently, both canal and drain refer to structure and usage also.
> Canal is designed for useful water while drain is intended for waste water.
> usage=* comes to give more information of what canal is intended for.
> Regarding ditch, it regards both useful and waste water.
> If we choose to be consistent in waterway=* values, waterway=drain should
> be abandonned in favor of canal + appropriate usage=* values.
> Then we'll obtain waterway=canal for artificial waterways whatever their
> usage and waterway=river, stream and ditch for natural or not-lined
> watercourses.

In normal UK usage, a canal is (or was) navigable: that is the primary
purpose. A drain would normally be substantially smaller, and
non-navigable. No doubt there are exceptions probably in the Norfolk
Broads. But normally drains and canals are quite distinct, so it would
be unnatural in British English to remove drain.  Yes, I do realise that
the word canal is derived from channel.  That sort of usage still
applies in dentistry, as in a root-canal procedure.  But I digress from
waterways :-)


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