Many people choose to incorporate their rain chains into water reclamation schemes - also called "rainwater harvesting." These systems make rain chains much more valuable than just being simple decorative downspouts--they also can help to reduce stormwater runoff, which can be harmful to our water supply. Stormwater runoff is a big problem in urban settings because there is such a prevalence of impervious surfaces that rainwater doesn't soak into the ground where it falls. Instead it flows along these surfaces until it is channeled into drains. Along the way, the stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, and many types of other pollutants where they ultimately get carried into lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands and coastal waters. This can be very taxing on local waterbodies we use for fishing, swimming, and drinking water.
Rain barrels are a great way to store rainwater for later use around the house and garden. Rainwater is also superior for plants and flowers compared to water from the tap. A rain barrel can often be made more aesthetically pleasing having a rain chain feeding the barrel rather than a conventional gutter downspout. Rain barrels can help manage runoff be keeping it from ending up in the drain.
Rain gardens are also an effective way to reduce stormwater runoff. Rain gardens are a shallow depression placed in the low part of a yard where water can collect during storms. Often native plants can be used in the rain garden which can be fed by the stormwater. This system helps water back into the ground where it falls rather than being channeled to drainage systems. Many people have their rain chains feed water into their rain garden.
Whether water is saved for use in the yard (such as in a rain barrel) or funneled into a rain garden, both of these methods have been proven to help reduce stormwater runoff.