In 1958 the WA government decided to put an irrigation scheme on the Ord river. The first stage of the project was completed in 1963. The second stage was construction of the Ord River Dam to provide a major storage reservoir called Lake Argyle, it was officially opened June 1972 and Lake Argyle was filled to storage volume by January 1974.

In 1996, the spillway wall was raised by 6 metres (20 ft), which doubled the dam's capacity. Then the Ord Hydro Pty Ltd constructed a 30 megawatt hydro power station providing a clean and renewable energy source. The station is located at the base of the Ord River Dam. The power station has four turbines and two 15 megawatt generators to produce more that 220 gigawatt hours of electricity per annum. At maximum flood level, Lake Argyle would hold 35,000 gigalitres of water and cover a surface area of 2,072 square kilometres.