Document Type


Publication Date



This paper addresses the issue of whether increasing global and regional economic integration can bring direct benefits for improving drinking water provision for the poorest population segments in urban and peri-urban areas in developing countries. The “sector” that encapsulates drinking water distribution in developing urban areas is a very complex mixture of distribution modes and different public and private actors, each with different capabilities and characteristics. Experience and academic studies have provided a set of current best management practices for focus areas and objectives to improve drinking water distribution for the poorest segments of the population in these areas. Drinking water distribution is at its heart a service that could potentially fall under the GATS umbrella, but direct results from GATS on this sector in developing countries are likely to be negligible. However, slight positive benefits are promised by the general trend that GATS both represents and fosters, and thus this analysis provides support for the position that much of the hype that GATS will undermine services to the poor is misdirected.


This article was awarded the Cornell Law Library Prize for Exemplary Student Research in 2011.