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.
Find more news related pictures in our photo galleries and follow us on Tumblr