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Comparison with present picture
Khlong Mae Kha in the time the Municipality built cement-walls blocking the two banks, 1967.
Boonserm Satrabhaya
Khlong Mae Kha

On the establishment of Chiang Mai Phraya Mangrai selected the area of the foot hills that had an abundance of water to support a large community, for transportation convenience and for agriculture. The two main streams were the Ping River and Mae Kha River.

The Ping River is a vast river used as a major transport route between Chiang Mai and outer cities or cities up river and down to lower port cities as far south as Ayutthaya and Bangkok.

The Mae Kha River was a main stream nourishing the city of Chiang Mai. It provided water for agriculture as well as a major transport route for people in the city as recorded in the book “Folk Legends of Chiang Mai” where it talked about the flow of the river… from here the waterfall from Doi Suthep formed a river flowing up north and winding towards the east, down south and turned west out into Wiang Kum Kam. The river is vital to the city supporting its prosperity.

An exploration of the Mae Kha River and interviews with elders who lived along the river revealed that 100 years ago the river was clearer and clean. The people could use the water to wash clothes and for transport within the city.

As the city grew, more and more people moved in to settle. Part of them set up a community near the Mae Kha canal. Some set up homes, some opened shops and warehouses. When the water works was installed and cars replaced boats, a sign of civilization advancement, the canal lost its importance. It was then used as a sewer causing it to be almost impossible to regain its freshness anymore. Moreover, the cement dams along the banks made it even worse and the vein of the city transformed into a ditch.

Sanguan Chotirat. (1973). Tamnan phuen mueang Chiang Mai (Chiang Mai
folk legends). Pranakhon: Historical Publication Committee,
Office of the Prime Minister.
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