During the reign of King Chulalongkorn the Great (King Rama V), the Act on “Announcement on Canal Digging” was promulgated in 1877. The King Rama V ordered the digging of a canal started from Phra Khanong Canal connecting to Bang Pakong River. The digging work was resumed from the existing canal which had been incompletely dug since the reign of King Rama III. This aimed at increasing cultivated areas along both sides of the canal. In this regard, Phraya Prawet Burirom (Phraya is a noble title in Siam period) was assigned to direct and supervise the canal digging and the King Rama V graciously named the canal after its supervisor as “Prawet Burirom Canal”. The work is done with cadastral survey and the canal is in a straight line to shorten travel distance as much as possible. Another 4 branch canals were also dug, namely the Canal 1, Canal 2, Canal 3, and Canal 4. This was the expansion of places for earning a living to meet the need of the people at that time. The digging of Prawet Burirom Canal started in 1878 and was completed in 1880 with total length of 46 kilometers.
The old people said that before the digging of Prawet Burirom Canal, the area was a sparse forest with a very small population. Later, the use of vehicles had increased with more convenient roads and streets. When the road along the Prawet Burirom Canal was constructed, the people preferred to travel by cars instead of by boats. At present, Prawet Burirom Canal plays its minimizing role only as a waterway used for sending water to a community and draining water to the river and the sea.
Presently, as the way of life of riverside community has changed; therefore, we must team up to revive the unique waterfront lifestyle of people in community. At the same time, litter prevention campaigns should be launched in order to conserve and improve the health of canals and rivers so that they last forever. The canal can also be developed as a waterway tourist attraction which can create jobs and incomes for people in the community.
Prawet District, local administration and development committee of Prawet District, and Krathum Suea Pla Temple currently cooperates in reviving “Traditional Boat Racing Festival in Prawet Burirom Canal” to carry on the tradition, community lifestyle, and local cultural heritage related to the water. Moreover, awareness campaigns should be conducted among youths and the general public so that they see the values of nature, community ways of life and local culture and conserve all these to be a heritage for future generations. This can be the conservative tourism promotion of Prawet Burirom Canal and its neighboring areas as well as the promotion of public participation in upholding and preserving religions, arts, and culture which will take place during the wet or rainy season or the tenth month of the year.