Visit Transportation and Public Works

Stop 2. Transportation and Public Works

Our journey continues in search of buildings, businesses, and organizations that demonstrate water conservation methods in Athens-Clarke County. The next stop is the Transportation and Public Works building at the corner of West Dougherty Street and Lumpkin Street. The water conservation method highlighted here is a rain chain. The side of the building (facing Lumpkin Street) has a rain chain attached to a rain barrel.

What are rain chains? Rain chains are alternatives to downspouts. They visibly guide rain water from the roof down chains to the ground, a drain, or storage container like a rain barrel (remember the ones at Sandy Creek Nature Center, our Stop #1?). The collected rain water can be used to water flowers and gardens. The Transportation and Public Works rain chain supplies water for a rain garden. Some organizations suggest rain chains should replace downspouts, claiming they fulfill the same purposes of downspouts, but also break the flow of water as it hits the ground, mitigating its impact.

History of rain chains. The Japanese have used rain chains for hundreds of years. Today the chains are used to direct the rain water from their roof to storage units for later use in household chores. The Japanese are also known for incorporating large decorative rain chains into their temple design.

The style. The styles of rain chains vary from traditional chains to cups to decorative flowers. Link, cup, and flower chain styles are far more attractive than traditional downspouts and often add to the decor of a building rather than detract from it. Many people make their own rain chain from recycled materials such as clay pottery, pebbles, and even pine cones. Look at this website for inspiration and installation tips.

For more information on rain chains visit here.

Check in next month as we visit another place in ACC!

Originally posted on, 2/19/13


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