Center Hill Dam and Lake was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938 and the River and Harbor Act of 1946. The project was completed for flood control in 1948. Three power generating units provide a total hydroelectric capability of 135,000 kilowatts. The project was designed by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and built by private contractors under the supervision of the Corps. The dam, powerplant and reservoir are operated by the Nashville District of the Corps of Engineers.
Center Hill Lake is located in the Cumberland River Basin, on the Caney Fork River, and covers parts of DeKalb, Putman, White, and Warren Counties in Tennessee. It controls the runoff from a drainage area of 2,174 square miles.