The shrunken carcasses of cows lie in scorched fields outside the city of Campina Grande in northeast Brazil, and hungry goats search for food on the cracked-earth floor of the Boqueirao reservoir that serves the desperate town.
After five years of drought, farmer Edivaldo Brito says he cannot remember when the Boqueirao reservoir was last full. But he has never seen it this empty.
Climate change has worsened the droughts in Brazil's northeast over the last 30 years, according to Eduardo Martins, head of Funceme, Ceara state's meteorological agency.
Rainfall has decreased and temperatures have risen, increasing demand for agricultural irrigation just as water supplies fell and evaporation accelerated.
Costa Rego blames lack of planning by Brazil's governments for persistent and repeated water crises, shocking for a country that boasts the biggest fresh water reserves on the planet.
The reservoir supplying São Paulo, Brazil's largest city and a metropolitan region of 20 million people, nearly dried up in 2015. The capital, Brasilia, resorted to rationing this year.
In Fortaleza, capital of Ceara and the northeast's second largest city, the vital Castanhao reservoir is down to 5 percent of its capacity.
While that city will also get water from the São Francisco project, it will not arrive until at least year-end because contractor Mendes Junior abandoned work after being implicated in a major corruption scandal.
"Water from the São Francisco river is vital," Ceara Governor Camilo Santana told Reuters. He said the reservoir can supply Ceara only until August.
After that, the state must use emergency wells and a mandatory 20 percent reduction in consumption to keep Fortaleza taps running until water arrives.
Ceara has had to cut back on irrigation, hurting flower and melon exporters, cattle ranchers and dairy farmers. They stand to flourish when the transfer comes through, but quenching the thirst of the cities will take priority.