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A worker is seen inside the Cuncas II tunnel that will link the canals being built to divert water from the Sao Francisco river for use in four drought-plagued states, a project that is three years behind schedule and has doubled in cost from the original estimate of $3.4 billion, near the city of Mauriti, Ceara state, January 28, 2014. In 2006, then President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, pushed through an idea that long-suffering residents of the region had been hearing about for more than a century. By 2010, Lula de Silva said, water would be pumped over hills and into a 477 kilometer-long network of canals, aqueducts and reservoirs to quench thirsty cities and farms in four states. Eight years later, and near the end of a first term for Lula's hand-picked successor as president, Dilma Rousseff, the project is only half built.   Picture taken January 28, 2014. (REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino)

Brazil's Water Project

In 2006, then President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva promised, Brazil would channel water to the sun-baked region from the São Francisco, the country's second-longest river.

Eight years later, and near the end of a first term for Lula's hand-picked successor as president, Dilma Rousseff, the project is only half built. Delayed by bureaucracy and contract problems, the cost of the government's single biggest infrastructure venture has almost doubled to 8.2 billion reais ($3.4 billion).

Four years past the initial deadline, the project is unlikely to be finished even by the end of a possible second term for Rousseff, whose government is nonetheless accelerating construction as she vies for re-election in October.

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