There are approximately 25,000 people in and around Ar Rutbah.
The 40-bed hospital in Ar Rutbah was destroyed by Coalition bombing in 2003. As of late-April 2003, health services were being offered in the town's primary health clinic, which was receiving 500 patients per day. This space was, however, inadequate to provide the level of service previously offered in this remote region's only hospital.
Ar Rutbah normally receives its water from three different water treatment plants (WTP). The main source is a group of 12 wells that are located approximately 15 kilometers (km) south of town. Other sources are the WTP located about 25 km south of Heet, and the WTP near Al Qa'im that draws from the Euphrates. Water is piped through the desert, and there are several points in the pipeline where the Bedouin population can draw water out for themselves and their sheep. (There are approximately two million sheep in this region that each require between three and four liters of water per day). As of late April, 2003, the pipeline running from Al Qa'im was not operational. The pipeline running from near Hit was providing water about only half of the way through the desert to Ar Rutbah.
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