Many polymers and gels can reduce the permeability to water more than they can the permeability to oil or gas. However, the mechanism of this disproportionate permeability reduction is not clear. This paper considers a promising potential explanation that is based on a combined "wall-effect" and "gel-droplet" model. Many aspects of the disproportionate permeability reduction can be explained by a wall-effect model if the gelant is prepared from or matches the wetting phase, and by a gel-droplet model if the gelant is prepared from or matches the nonwetting phase. The combined model predicts that disproportionate permeability reduction should increase with increasing residual nonwetting-phase saturation. New experimental results support this prediction.