Work being done to get grass greener at Chamizal National Memorial before Music Under the Stars

EL PASO, Texas - Winter isn't the only reason the Chamizal National Memorial's grass turned yellow.

In February, the pumping mechanism for the park's well failed and a new pump wasn't installed until last week.

The park's personnel have been using emergency water measures to make sure the bowl of the park and the front area is green when Music Under the Stars starts June 8.

But they couldn't just let the grass go completely without water while they waited for the new pump.

From March through May, the park used City water - through hoses and a portable sprinkler - to water the bowl and front area of the park.

Some new sod was put down, as well.

As for why the pump went bad, Gus Sanchez, the park's superintendent called it "really bad luck."

The pump was rebuilt three years ago and was supposed to last 20 years after the repair.

"Once in a while you get a lemon," Sanchez said.

It took so long to get the new pump because of having to go through the government to get it and it was hard to get a contractor because of irrigation season.

The new pump was paid for through pecial funding from the regional office.

Losing the pump did mean having to make some budget decisions because the water bill went up dramatically from March through May.

The water bill went up because of having to use City water during that time. The well the park normally uses is not connected to City water pipelines.

Sanchez did not have an exact figure of how much the water bill had increased during March through May.

Having to change staff schedules to accommodate the new watering schedule also affected the budget.

Chamizal staffers are now working on greening up the rest of the park, too.

In a typical year, the Chamizal staffers water the park 50 to 60 inches with watering being done minimally in December and January because the Bermuda grass goes dormant then.

It is only watered during that time to keep the roots alive.

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