Norfork Dam is located in Baxter County, Arkansas on the North Fork River, about 4.8 miles upstream from its confluence with the White River. The dam is approximately 12 miles southeast of Mountain Home, Arkansas. The lake extends eastward into Fulton County, Arkansas and northward into Ozark County, Missouri.
Norfork Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act approved 28 June 1938 (Public Law 761, 75th Congress, 3d session), as modified by the Flood Control Act approved 18 August 1941 (Public Law 228, 77th Congress, 1st session), for flood control and generation of hydroelectric power. The inclusion of storage for municipal and industrial water supply was authorized by the Water Supply Act of 1958.
Construction of Norfork dam and appurtenant works began in spring of 1941 and was placed in operation in 1944. Norfork Lake is one of the original six lakes developed for flood control and other purposes in the White River Basin. The project is operated for primary purposes of flood control and hydropower, with secondary consideration to water supply, recreation, and fish and wildlife. The powerhouse and switchyard were completed in October 1949.