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I tried to look it up around on reserve dictionaries and via google, but couldn't quite find a word that fitted what I meant to say. Essentially, is there a word that encompasses both the actions of the water approaching the bank and receding from it ?

Sample sentence:

It wouldn't be a constant pool to pull from, rather a [insert desired word here].

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  • Can you add a sample sentence where you'd use the word? It's currently not clear if you're talking about tides or waves.
    – Laurel
    Sep 16 '18 at 22:28
  • 3
    Do you mean the tides? Ebb and flow?
    – S Conroy
    Sep 16 '18 at 23:01
  • Ah yes, that it was I meant! And as for a sentence example: "it wouldn't be a constant pool to pull from, rather a [insert desired word here]"
    – FMB
    Sep 17 '18 at 1:52
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    @SConroy please post "ebb and flow" as the answer, don't forget to say "why". It seems the OP is satisfied with that solution, let's hope they return and accept the answer!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 17 '18 at 8:07
  • @Mari-Lou. Done.
    – S Conroy
    Sep 17 '18 at 20:04
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The "lapping" of the water may work, however, I am not certain this fits your exact usage as I don't think this applies solely to beaches.

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wave-action OED

n. (a) Geology the action of water flowing in waves

As in:

Wave Action is important for building up and breaking down shorelines.

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If I understand you correctly, you are describing a reservoir of water which is regularly refilled. Either:

"it wouldn't be a constant source to pull from, rather a [tidal pool]"

Or

"it wouldn't be a constant pool to draw from, rather a [tidal source]"

('draw,' as in 'draw water from' is only for variation and euphony)

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tide (Collins)

  1. countable noun
    A tide is a current in the sea that is caused by the regular and continuous movement of large areas of water towards and away from the shore.
    Roman vessels used to sail with the tide from Boulogne to Richborough.

(towards and away from the shore emphasis mine.)

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Do you mean the tides -- the ebb and flow?

Wikipedia

Ebb and flow (also called ebb and flood and flood drain) are two phases of the tide or any similar movement of water. The ebb is the outgoing phase, when the tide drains away from the shore; and the flow is the incoming phase when water rises again. The terms are also common in figurative use.

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