Three Brazil 2000 course participants not previously acquainted worked together to analyze potential impacts of water diversion from the Tocantins River in central Brazil. The project would have diverted water from the Tocantins in the Jalapáo region, a unique transition zone between Cerrado woodland and caatinga. The water would be pumped into Brazil's arid Northeast for irrigation and hydroelectric power. Fani Mamede, formerly of IBAMA, Brazil's environmental agency, Paulo Garcia, a conservationist working with the municipality of Mateiros and Wilson Cabral, an engineer at the Sáo Paulo-based Technology and Aeronautics Institute, performed an analysis of the project's potentially extensive environmental and economic impacts.
They showed that this white elephant investment would waste hundreds of millions of dollars, information that helped lead to the creation of 1.7 million acres of newly protected habitat.