Chiang Mai Municipality, 13 other organisations and GIZ join hands to rehabilitate Mae Kha Canal

Chiang Mai Municipality and thirteen other organizations and Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: The Urban Nexus Project signed a Memorandum of Cooperation for the rehabilitation of the Mae Kha Canal on 17th March 2017 at Chiang Mai Municipality. The cooperation aims to implement activities on the theme “State and Citizens Jointly Return Fresh Water to The Mae Kha Canal”.

Passing through the city of Chiang Mai, Mae Kha canal was once a clean and clear waterway that provided water for agriculture as well as serving as a major transport route for the city’s residents. Due to the growth of the city and tourism, Mae Kha Canal is now a heavily polluted sewer line. The residents who live along Mae Kha Canal are suffering from a blocked drainage system, solid waste in the canal, unbearable odours and flash floods. As the Mae Kha is more than 30 kilometers long, it also passes through and affects other municipalities such as Don Kaew and Pa Dad (north and south of Chiang Mai City respectively).

Over the past twenty years, many local and international organizations have attempted to solve the Mae Kha Canal problem. Several measures have been proposed and some have been implemented. However, the canal remains as polluted if not more so than ever.

The Mayor of Chiang Mai, Mr. Tassanai Buranupakorn, would like to make an integrated attempt to solve the Mae Kha pollution problem as well as rehabilitate the canal. He therefore initiated the “Mae Kha Canal Dredging Project“. Under this project a “Memorandum of Cooperation” was signed between Chiang Mai Municipality, GIZ Urban Nexus, and thirteen other organizations, the Provincial Office, the Army, the Police, the Office of Irrigation Department, the Office of Marine Department, Don Kaew Municipality and Pa Dad Municipality, among them.

All parties agreed to promote and improve the Mae Kha and its environment by using technology and innovation as the main principle for improving water quality within the canal so that the water returns to good quality and meets the standards of natural water sources.

Chiang Mai Municipality will be the coordinating centre and organizer of activities that aim to provide restoration measures to improve the quality of the canal and its water source by way of dredging and other appropriate wastewater management systems. The Municipality will also work collectively with relevant parties to improve the landscape on both sides of the Mae Kha Canal and create awareness and promote the participation of all sectors. Other partner parties will assist in the surveillance of encroachment, releasing of waste water and solid waste from communities, homes and other establishments along the Mae Kha while the GIZ Urban Nexus Project will cooperate in facilitating interinstitutional cooperation to improve the landscape and the infrastructure for a sustainable rehabilitation of the Mae Kha Canal. It will also work on raising awareness among the stakeholders of the need to sustainably protect their water bodies.

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