The drains from a hot water heater donít get used unless something goes wrong. Around here most everyone drains the T&P drain into the pan, if there is a pan. You could let the pan drain indirect into a drain with a trap inside the basement. The T&P drain could also go to it if it is indirect. Making it indirect and putting it in the basement would allow you to have access to the drain. You could put vegetable oil in the trap so it does not dry up so fast.
Take a look at the image in this link.